The insults are, unfortunately, indicative of society’s attitude towards women – especially ones who are successful. We don’t like successful women.
We often say that there aren’t enough women in the higher echelons of professional success, but when women do get there, they’re despised. Their ascent to success can induce feelings of resentment and jealousy in others – and this often leads to the women being absolutely torn to pieces.
While all areas of their lives are up for grabs, it tends to be appearance that people really take pleasure in attacking. Why? Because society values appearance above all else, and we all know it’s a social currency for women. So people know that when they attack appearance, they’re going for the jugular. They’re doing their best to hurt, and it probably will.
It’s despicable. But it’s also sad, because the commenters are a product of their own environments – we live in an overtly misogynistic world and we’re not taught to cheer women on. Their words are also a projection of their own issues, insecurities and levels of contentment in their own lives. Nobody happy and thriving likes to spend their time writing anonymous, scathing comments about an absolute stranger… It doesn’t make sense.
I think we’d like to ‘other’ such people, and almost categorise them a different species to me and you, but that’s not the case – I think they’re probably people seemingly like me and you, blending seamlessly into society. I suspect they would be absolutely mortified if their true identities were revealed.
I don’t have the solution to this. I don’t know how to change a whole world’s attitudes to women and women succeeding. But I do think that we need to talk about such blatant shows of misogyny. And I think it would be incredibly helpful to encourage anyone (including ourselves) who has these seemingly irrational feelings of jealously and spite towards successful women, like Beyoncé, to explore where that stems from.
Because getting to the root of it will lay bare the fact that it’s not a problem with lies with that woman at all; it’s a problem that lies with us.