Who Runs the World?

I listen to a lot of music so I figured it would easy for me to find pick a song for this assignment…it took me a solid hour to find a song because a lot of the songs that I went through were about love and I wanted to find a song with a different meaning. After an hour I finally chose “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.


This song is the ultimate girl power song and it is a tribute to how far women have come and the power we have gained over the past several decades. Beyoncé does not hold back in this song. At the beginning of the song, Beyoncé repeats: “Who run the world? Girls!” and goes on to sing:

“Boy I know you love it
How we’re smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children
Then get back to business”

Beyoncé says girls run the world because they can work, be successful and have children at the same time. She is living proof of that and this song is a message to women that we have the power to do this too.  Here is another stanza that gives further reason to why she believes girls run the world:

“My persuasion can build a nation
Endless power, with our love we can devour
You’ll do anything for me”

I had a hard time interpreting this stanza…what makes up Beyoncé’s persuasion? Is it love? Is it her sexuality? Is it her power as an icon? I do think that, to a certain extent, a woman’s love or even sexuality can be used to persuade men to “do anything.” But this is not their only source of power. Women’s power comes from their ability to do it all, to raise a family and to be successful in their careers. I think that Beyoncé is saying that women have not taken necessarily taken over the world but that we are “here” and that we are making waves. This song is very empowering and it marks the change in gender roles in society. As Mao Zedong, the founder and leader of the People’s Republic of China, said in the 1960s, “women hold up half the sky.”


5 comments on “Who Runs the World?

  1. Beyonce is the perfect female artist to release such an empowering song. Beyonce is a self proclaimed modern-day feminist. All of her songs relate to love, relationships, female sexuality and empowerment. Some examples are “Single Ladies,” “Beautiful Liar,” and “Irreplaceable.” She gives women a voice and is one of Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people of the time. I wonder how this song would be viewed if an artist like Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga released it.

    • Maureen I think you make a good point of whether or not the song would be viewed the same if it were someone else singing but at the same time, isn’t the lyrics in the songs that make it so powerful? Would the face behind the one singing the lyrics make it any less empowering?

    • I think Beyonce is a pretty good role model for young women. While some songs highlight women’s independence and strength- songs like single ladies is about “catching a man,” and employing sexuality to attract attention and make him jealous…

  2. I mentioned this song in my post as well- I thought about analyzing it! Is beyonce describing a fantasy world? Do girls run the world? I’d have to say no, but she does highlight some ways in which women are strong and “do it all.”

  3. I’m glad you addressed the question of appearance or sexuality and women’s power. SOme part of me thinks that no matter how empowering the lyrics, Beyonce and pop music are ultimately a flawed messenger and genre.

    Let me rant:
    One song about “girl” power in an ocean of flim-flam songs about being made complete and whole by being foudn by that special guy and so on… in videos where hyper-sexualized imagery pounds into the heads of the viewer that the evaluation of a female is the roundness of her breasts, thinness of waist, and jiggling of her butt.

    C’mon. Maybe Beyonce feels better about this song, but she is a small cog in a vast machine of holding women down and back because beauty and body matter more than anything.

    “Girls.” Not women.

    You see any hip-hop artists singing about “boys?”

    Rant over.

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