The “Bey-Sexual” Straight Women
Our Beyoncé fantasy reveals an underlying desire for empowerment
By Tess Barker
Twenty-four hours after Lemonade was released, I watched it for the second time. I was surrounded by friends. And champagne. After all, we were celebrating.
“Oh. My. God!” one of us yelled. Beyoncé, in that yellow breezy dress, smiled calmly into the camera. She sang that she’d “rather be crazy” than “walked all over.” Then she gleefully used a bat to beat the shit out of a car window.
“She. Is. So. Hot!” I bit my lip.
“Imagine being Beyoncé,” said another friend, as we watched her perfect figure swirl through acts of revenge — it looked as satisfying as popping bubble wrap.
Of course, we, like millions of women, imagine being Beyoncé. A lot. We wear shirts that say, “Don’t Worry, Beyoncé.” We tag each other in memes that remind us, “Beyoncé has the same number of hours in the day as you do.” We are, to use a term I recently coined in another article, Bey-sexuals — heterosexual women who have overwhelming crushes on Queen Bey. Bey-sexuals like myself are hypnotized by Beyoncé’s every move, and love to see her majesty in a revealing costume. But the root of our fantasy is not so much having sex with Beyoncé. Instead, we want to have sex as Beyoncé.
Dream theory posits that a sex dream is not necessarily indicative of a desire to sleep with someone, but rather of a yearning to connect with them
“It’s an escapist thing to get away from the things you don’t like about yourself,” psychologist Dr. Tanya Jacob said, explaining why a person might fantasize about having sex as someone else. Jacob noted that the profession of so-called “girl crushes” is very common among young heterosexual women who feel extreme admiration to the point of sexualizing other women.
“This is a more mature version of that,” said Jacob. “To be like, ‘I know I’m not attracted to them. It’s beyond that. I’m just imagining that I am them, so I can let go of myself.’”
As ourselves, said Jacob, women are punished for expressing confidence. “We’re trained to be modest. We’re not really allowed to say, ‘I feel beautiful today.’”
I don’t take selfies in front of other people because I’m worried they might know I like how I look. I return every compliment on an outfit with, “Thanks! I like yours too!” I would never respond to someone telling me I’m hot by saying, “I know.”
I can’t say that about myself, but I can say it about Beyoncé. So can Beyoncé. She’s “not sorry” for knowing she’s the “baddest woman in the game,” (as she asserts in her song “Hold Up”) — and is thus playing by a different rulebook than the rest of us.
She is even allowed to be sexy and smart at the same time. Beyoncé doesn’t wonder if her skirt is too tight for a job interview. Beyoncé doesn’t get called “sweetheart” by male colleagues whose respect she wants. Beyoncé doesn’t worry that her intelligence and independence might make her unfuckable.
“Nobody is saying Beyoncé is a dumb little bitch,” said Jacob. “Nobody is saying that. She has somehow crossed over to being seen as very smart, very capable, but also very, very sexy.”
Dream theory (which Jacob cautioned is subjective) posits that a sex dream is not necessarily indicative of a desire to sleep with someone, but rather of a yearning to connect with them.
“We want to take them in through osmosis,” said Jacob. “We want to eat them, in a way, but we know we can’t do that, so we say, ‘Well maybe I can have sex with them. That’s the closest I can get to literally taking them in me. I can just walk away with a piece of them.’”
Even when someone takes a piece of Beyoncé, she remains whole. You cannot break Beyoncé. You cannot call her a slut or a gold digger. You cannot diminish her power by accusing her of ambition or by blaming her for her powerful husband’s infidelity. Go ahead. Call her crazy. People will still believe her version of the story.
So I imagine being Beyoncé. I imagine being a woman for whom these are the rules. This is my fantasy, really. This, more than washboard abs, is what seems perpetually out of reach, what I hunger for to the point of physical cravings.
Also, those legs, though. I mean, come on.
Tess Barker is a writer, comedian, and co-host of the Lady to Lady podcast. Her work has also appeared in Vice, The Guardian, Jezebel, and MTV News.
David Good is a Brooklyn-based artist and designer with a background in linguistics. His fascination with the written word and images inspires his quirky, contemporary, and somewhat Futurist-like work, which can be found on Instagram.