Tuesday, 3 November 2009

If only we could all be more like Beyoncé

I have had the flu/a bad cold which meant watching more television than I usually risk. There were some good things on, but, of course, some deeply disturbing things as well.

When I was young I would have prayed for something like T4 (that's teen programming on Channel 4, not a terminal at Heathrow). On Sunday I enjoyed the new generation "90210" - no, really, I did. It is more 'edgy' and grown-up than the first generation "Beverley Hills, 90210" - you can imagine the teens in this series taking time out to go vote for Obama before they tear each other to pieces over a handbag in a sale.

But after that there was the much more disturbing home-grown "The World's Greatest Popstars". This week the praises of Beyoncé were sung by Kimberley Walsh, a member of Girls Aloud. Now, I would have thought this was against the rules, as Girls Aloud is one of the other contenders for the award of World's Greatest Popstar.

But never mind that, more alarming things were going on. Kimberley is a pretty young woman but she wore a disturbing amount of make-up, could barely move her head lest she dislodge her hairdo, had some sort of weird padding going on around her shoulder area (or maybe she's just built like that), and couldn't look into the camera (or perhaps that's just the way they filmed her).

Kimberley's heroine Beyoncé Knowles is, granted, in many ways, 'absolutely amayzing', but then she's hardly had the most normal of lives. She joined her first girl band when she was eight years old. Her father gave up his day job to devote himself to training his daughter and her friends in a sort of girl band 'boot camp'. After a few false starts, Destiny's Child was born.

I concede that Beyoncé provides a role model of a young woman who knows what she wants and has the sass to go out and get it - girl power! But hers is not a career path that's open to all.

The most disturbing part of the presentation of Beyoncé's gifts was the time given over to admiring her booty bounce dance. Don't get me wrong, it's a good party trick, but is this really what a young woman today must aspire to achieve?

Below, almost gratuitously, are some shots of Kimberley Walsh before and after a spell in girl band boot camp. I was going to include a video of Beyoncé's booty bounce but after trawling YouTube for a while, and seeing some of the other booty bounce videos on there, I decided I didn't want any part of it.

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