Stop Using ‘Lemonade’ As an Excuse to Drag Other Women

Beyoncé gave us the gift of a new album this weekend, and we’re blowing it.

“Lemonade,” along with its accompanying hourlong visual album, is all about infidelity and the internal suffering it creates. It’s about what happens when no matter what you do, you can’t keep your husband from cheating on you. And it’s about deciding to forgive him and move on.

What it’s not about is beating up on the other woman. But you wouldn’t know that from how fans are reacting.

Watching Twitter and hearing all the media chatter since “Lemonade” was released Saturday night, you might have first noticed people ragging on Jay Z for apparently cheating:

But then, designer Rachel Roy made an oblique Instagram post that made people assume she was the other woman, “Becky with the good hair,” and all hell broke loose. People immediately switched focus from expressing disbelief about Jay Z’s apparent cheating, to dragging the shit out of Rachel.

Some are even interpreting Beyoncé’s lyrics to be about her, when they’re really not at all. In a post on Complex, for example, the following lines are interpreted to be “full-on attack mode against this so-called Becky with the good hair”:

So what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me? Here lies the body of the love of my life whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children both living and dead. Rest in peace my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb pussy, who because of me sleep evaded. Her shroud is loneliness, her god was listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.

It’s clear that this passage is meant to dig into the cheating man — not the other woman. The other woman is only mentioned in the phrase “dust to side chicks.”

In fact, whoever the other woman is, she’s barely mentioned throughout “Lemonade.” Yeah, there’s the reference to “Becky with the good hair,” but Beyoncé doesn’t talk about retaliation against her, or even much anger toward her. “Lemonade” isn’t about hating the other woman — it’s about figuring out whether you can trust your husband again.

It seems like Beyoncé went out of her way to make “Lemonade” about the cheater and not the side chick. But her fans aren’t as mature. They’re using “Lemonade” as a license to drag whatever woman they can think of.

First, the obvious: designer Rachel Roy’s mentions have been a living hell for about two days now thanks to the Beyhive’s insistence that she’s Becky. She didn’t help matters when she posted a picture to Instagram with the caption “good hair don’t care,” basically sealing the deal. But still — Beyoncé fans are slut shaming her like their lives depend on it. It makes you wonder how Beyoncé feels that her fans are making her music release all about Rachel Roy.

But even before Rachel was being targeted, Beyoncé fans decided to drag Kim Kardashian for daring to post some selfies on Saturday night. Kim posted 15 photos of herself and some friends at a wedding around the same time “Lemonade” was premiering. Beyoncé fans took this as a personal insult to Beyoncé for some reason. But instead of just ignoring the pics, Beyoncé fans took Kim’s selfie as an opportunity to slut-shame her.

Do Beyoncé’s fans know they can unfollow Kim and never see her selfies in their timelines? Why does their enjoyment of “Lemonade” also have to include bashing of Kim?

Rachel Roy and Kim K aren’t the only women the Beyhive saw fit to drag this weekend. In a hilarious but also depressing twist, they’ve also gone out of their way to shade Rachael Ray, she of the “30 Minute Meals” fame, for having a similar name to Rachel Roy. You really couldn’t even make this up.

People are also taking “Lemonade” as an opportunity to slut shame Monica Lewinsky all over again, after Monica tweeted that she was afraid to listen to the new album since Beyoncé’s last album threw shade at the former White House intern.

As if Monica hasn’t heard enough from the peanut gallery over the years.

Beyoncé fans really need to chill, for her sake if nothing else. Imagine being Beyoncé right now. Assuming Jay Z really did cheat on her, she’s already been to hell and back. After feeling all the pain that comes along with being betrayed by the person she thought she could trust above all others, she’s decided to forgive her husband and give him a second chance. Not only that, but she’s also decided to turn all of that pain into art — expensive and time-consuming art with an exclusive HBO premiere.

Think about the amount of time and effort she’s put into rehabbing her relationship, making sense of her husband’s infidelity, and turning it all into an album and an hourlong video. And now all anyone’s talking about is who the other woman was. Instead of appreciating “Lemonade,” people are going straight to pointing fingers.

They aren’t even pointing the finger at Jay Z in all this, though. He’s gotten off relatively scot-free, and it’s not surprising. Anyone who’s been cheated on knows how easy it is to blame it all on the other woman. That way, you don’t have to face up to the fact that the man you thought worthy of your love and trusted above everyone else thought nothing of completely betraying your trust. It’s easy to tell yourself that some slut came along and stole him from you, when the truth is he went willingly.

Beyoncé’s fans might think they’re doing her, and all other wronged women, a favor by publicly trashing Rachel, Kim, Monica, and Rachael. But Beyoncé is better than that. It goes without saying that she’s above Twitter shade wars. But she also made clear in “Lemonade” that when it comes to cheating, the person to blame is the cheater. Beyoncé seems to know that giving the other woman the gift of your attention is the wrong move. Cheaters don’t cheat because the other woman is “better.” They do it because of their own insecurities and shortcomings.  Of course it’s natural to resent “Becky with the good hair,” but focusing your ire on the other woman does nothing — and it actually undeservedly elevates her.

So while the Beyhive thinks they’re doing Beyoncé a favor, they’re really just perpetuating the shaming of other women — and making “Lemonade” into something tawdry and gossipy when it should be empowering. I don’t want to speak for Beyoncé, but she’s probably not stoked about it.

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