Beyoncé has a flair for delivering news in a sudden, diva-esque fashion. So it didn’t surprise me that she took to social media with a dramatic photo to make the unexpected announcement she is expecting twins with husband Jay Z.
“We would like to share our love and happiness,” reads the Instagram post shared Wednesday. “We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes.”
But I was surprised by the set up in the photo. Why is she wearing a veil? I asked myself. Why is she posing like a bride on her wedding day? Arranged a lot like a bridal bouquet, the beautiful blossoms Beyoncé is surrounded by are also a traditional symbol of fertility. She embraces herself, including the two children she is carrying inside her body, like a Venus. She gazes directly at the viewer with a spirited expression on her face, exuding inner strength.
It’s a celebration of modern femininity, one never to be confused with passivity. Yet, it’s not a statement celebrating radical independence from men. This message to her fans around the world is signed off by the Carters—she, her husband Jay Z, and their five-year-old child. The stability of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s marriage has been subject to much speculation, but they are clearly united in their joy about the expansion of their family.
As I gazed at the image, it finally hit me. Beyoncé appears to be uniting marriage, sex, and children as part of a single expression of her womanhood. Presenting motherhood as an extension of marriage is an increasingly rare statement, especially given the growing numbers of women who experience them as separate milestones.
The overall message might go against the grain, but Beyoncé’s appearance in just her lingerie does not. We call those clothing items intimates for a reason. They are personal, something shared between lovers. I’m not of the view that we should keep certain parts of our lives private out of shame, but there is value in celebrating a woman’s beauty without overt sexuality.
So while my reaction to Beyoncé’s photo is a bit mixed, I can appreciate her apparent attempt to express what marriage is all about—committed love that is open to the possibility of children—in one Instagram post.
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