In 2011 my New Year’s Resolution was inspired by Black Swan, which might not have been the best decision I made that year, but it definitely wasn’t the worst.
Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Nina cut right to my perfectionist core. Her obsession with giving the perfect performance, her reckless resolve to be the best, and her subsequent loss of self and sanity, scared all the aspirations of flawlessness right out of me.
Deciding to ditch my list of New Years Resolutions, I came up with a single mantra to guide me through the year: Make More Mistakes.
It was just as destructive as it sounds.
But it was also super empowering. I felt a lot more fearless, like I could go for things without overthinking the consequences or being too scared to mess something up. It was the year I landed my first full-time job at a publishing company, produced two plays, spent the summer in Europe, and developed most of my closest friendships.
On the flip side, saying yes to everything was not sustainable and it taught me my limits in some pretty abrasive ways. I spent a lot of time with my foot in my mouth, often felt too stressed to function, relied extensively on the almighty powers of vodka, and got myself one of those wake up calls that really only a hospital trip can give you.
Three years later, I’ve moved on from Black Swan and, like the rest of the world, I’m turning to Queen Bee for inspiration.
You can’t get much more HBIC than Beyoncé. Who else in the world can shut the Internet down with a single Instagram? Power trip.
I’ve read about her new album extensively and listened to or watched it at least three times a day since I bought it a couple weeks ago. Obviously, the fact she includes part of Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk “We should all be feminists” in (my new anthem) “Flawless” makes me go weak in the knees.
Bee establishes she doesn’t have to play by the rules of the music industry or society to be successful. Her album asserts her identity as an independent and multifaceted woman in an real position of power. Bitches should bow down accordingly.
Rebelling against perfection is the main jam of Beyoncé’s album. Her first track, “Pretty Hurts” attacks beauty standards with a to-die-for video that shows the ugly side of beauty pageants. As the contestants strive for an impossible “ideal”, Bee tells the world, “Perfection is a disease of a nation”. In other words, the problem has nothing to do with the individual women and everything to with society. Preach.
Yoncé is also on a mission to show the world once and for all that women are not just sexual objects, but also sexual beings. She celebrates her sexuality so seriously that listening to her album will make you feel like you just lost a virginity you didn’t even know you had.
She even has this amazing French interlude in “Partition”, in which she directly calls out the inane idea that “Men think that feminists hate sex”, then continues to practice some intense seduction à la leopard (potential leopard queen?).
Taking some cues from Queen Bee, I suggest we put less energy into personal critiques this time of year and instead focus on defying the ideals of perfection. New Year’s Resolutions often fail because they’re created out of a feeling of obligation rather than excitement and I think we seriously deserve better than that.
At Woolf Woolf, we’re wishing you a year of good things. Here’s to pursuing your own ambitions, rebelling against perfection, fucking with beauty standards, rejecting gross gendered narratives, and supporting your sisters to do the same.