Colleen Powers is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis.

Make Demands

There was a scene in the Beyoncé HBO documentary that made me cringe to watch because it’s the only point in the film that registers as just a tiny bit unflattering to Beyoncé. (Also maybe the most interesting part?) It’s when she’s preparing for a show, going through the lights and costumes and everything she needs to be perfect, and she gets visibly annoyed that her requests have not been met. She rolls her eyes; she’s clipped and impatient with the technicians she’s working with. For a second, I thought, “Eeeeek, this is awkward! She’s being rude!”

And that reaction is so much a part of me! And I’m not saying anything about feminism or how women are raised, just me as a person–I don’t confront people often. I don’t like to tell people what to do. I don’t like having to call people out for making mistakes or being late or falling short of a standard. My kneejerk response to any moment of difficulty or confusion is a hasty “Sorry.”

This is a problem primarily because I’ve volunteered to be at the head of a project that requires me to say, “This is what I want. This is what needs to get done. This is how this is supposed to be, and we’re going to get it right.” And I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t been demanding perfection from the people I work with or, in particular, from myself. The one time I raised my voice in a meeting, I squeaked out a few minutes later, “Sorry, was that mean?” I’ve been letting things slide, and maybe I need to take a cue from Beyoncé Knowles.

I realize that it’s at least somewhat ridiculous to look up to a public figure I really don’t know that much about as a person–despite having watched a documentary made by her about her–but that sense of “She asks for what she fucking wants and she fucking gets it” is central to why I admire Beyoncé. (That, and that fall/crouch she does near the beginning of the “Crazy in Love” video.) I feel a little childish and unworthy looking up to a pop diva. I feel a little childish and unworthy writing this post. But I think that scene of Beyoncé saying, “No. This is not right. Get this fucking right.” has to be a reference I can call back to when I need to stop mincing around. Think of Bey. Make demands.


The View From Saturday