Hi I'm Bertie, this column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related things I think are stupid.
Last week, a chancer in Denmark reached right inside Beyonce’s golden aura and grabbed her butt. Unsurprisingly, after shaky video footage of the deed broke online, everyone in the world wrote a blogpost about what an asshole he was. Which means I don’t need to dedicate my 850 words to reiterating that. Good.
Still, there's a bit more to this than 25 seconds of uproar. The guy is a moron, sure, but it’s also really easy to forget that Beyonce is consistently being dangled in front of creepy members of the public. The fact that one guy reached out the extra 6 inches and grabbed her bottom is gross because somebody felt like they were entitled to another human’s property without their permission. But it's also scary because it draws attention to the fact that Beyonce is a person just like the rest of us, albeit not many of us are as regularly presented before a baying public wearing nothing but a glorified swimming costume.
I know we’ve been over this, but as much as I loved Destiny’s Child, and "If I Were a Boy" is one of the best break-up songs of all time, I’ve never been convinced by Beyonce. Convinced is the right word, by the way, because whatever you think of Queen B (that name’s not trademarked btw, we can still use it to refer to me) you can’t deny there is a huge PR endeavour surrounding her dedicated to pushing her image as a strong, independent female. And it's an image that has worked really, really well, in terms of it affecting people's psychology to the point where, when confronted by Beyonce, they feel physically compelled to reach out and snatch at her, no matter the consequences that inevitably await them. The butt grab is more than a misjudged act of lechery, it is weird testament to the perceived divinity of Beyonce, a eulogy to the corona of holy light that her brand message swathes her in.
People love Beyonce not just for her sometimes amazing music, they love celebrating her as an idol, an icon of the sexy, powerful women of the future. She’s not as stoned or as sexually aggressive as Rihanna, or as soundclipped and scripted as Nicki Minaj, she’s natural, charismatic and real. And so we feel comfortable allowing Beyonce to exist in an environment where she can be grabbed at from all angles, because she’s strong! And sassy! Just look at how Perez Hilton responded to the incident:
"Took it like a pro"? Really, Perez? By "pro", I'm not sure what you're referring to. Are you saying that Beyonce has a professionally grab-able bum? That a professional female celebrity should be accustomed to dealing with physical harrassment? I hope not. Secondly, why on earth do you assume she's joking? Imagine being Beyonce in that scenario, surrounded by screaming adults who "love" you, one of whom has just reached up and touched your body. Why would you joke about having that person escorted out?
The problem is Beyonce was trapped in a scenario where she was forced to respond to something genuinely offensive, with "sassiness". She "took it like a pro" because if she had responded with the disgust or violation that she might have felt, she would have been deemed "unprofessional". She would have broken through the fierce, calm exterior of diamond studded knuckle-dusters and perfectly photoshopped snarling pouts, and allowed herself to be a victim. The public don't like victims, you only have to read one paragraph of any article about Amanda Bynes to realise that.
Breaching anyone's personal boundaries in such a manner is just so obviously a no-no, but there's something peculiarly cruel about doing it to a woman who is perpetually obliged to maintain the image of a serene, sexually liberated matriarch. The incident shows the drawbacks of the sacred glow of the blessed that Beyonce's publicity team have created around her. If I suspend my own disbelief for a minute, and imagine that I, like this Danish bum-grabber, were convinced that Beyonce was a goddess, then to me her bum would be akin to, I don't know, the black stone of Mecca. It dominates her image and upstages her perfomances. It's world famous in its own right. In fact, it's probably more famous and revered than any of us ever will be. Having it fondled by a stranger in front of millions of people? If I did buy into the religion of Beyo, that would be gross sacrilege. It would be like touching the face of God, humiliating on a scale we mortals can barely comprehend.
As an unbeliever, I feel it draws attention to something Beyonce and her team are desperate to keep under wraps; her actual, genuine, realness. She's not a hologram yet, she actually exists as flesh and feelings somewhere, if only as the human shell of something far more profound. If someone had grabbed Madonna's ass back before she was ageless and terrifying, she probably would have slapped them right back and we would have applauded her for it. Yet it's assumed that Beyonce is too "pro" – too inhuman, essentially – not to rise above it. I'm not saying we should all be sat around weeping for the billionaire, but what's with the regressive conservatism, world?
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes