Wednesday, 15 January 2014

More sense from Beyoncé than Marin Alsop

Beyoncé speaks more sense than Marin Alsop! "Gender Equality is a myth!" writes Beyoncé, in an article in The Shriver Report, a media initiative led by Maria Shriver (JFK's neice) that seeks to modernize America’s relationship to women. "It isn’t a reality yet", says Beyoncé .... Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect. Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible." (read the full report here)

When  Marin Alsop became the first woman  to conduct the BBC Last Night of the Proms, she said " I have to say I’m still quite shocked that it can be 2013 and there can still be firsts for women.” Millions of women the world over would not have been shocked in the least. They have to live with the day-to-day reality that glitzy events like the Last Night of the Proms mean very little if you earn a quarter of what men earn, if you get hired or get an education in the first place.

The media went wild in a frenzy of self-satisfaction because it was easy copy, and popular. Some reports were so fawning that they confirmed the idea that women get praise simply for being women.  Gender equality won't come about until people genuinely don't care who is conducting, but how they conduct. And like it or not, classical music is middle-class art for middle-class people. Perhaps some of the world's poor and oppressed were watching but the victory would have seemed hollow in the light of real life experience. Even women who have worldly success, eg in the banking sector, know only too well how entrenched misogynistic attitudes are. So all the more respect to Beyoncé, who struggled hard to get where she is. She's rich, talented and famous but she still hasn't forgotten what life is like for millions of ordinary women.
photo Sergio Savarese, Sao Paolo

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