Trends: Slaying While Pregnant

 

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

It seems like almost every female celebrity is pregnant right now (and that almost all of them are pregnant with twins). But instead of lying low and taking it easy during their pregnancies, many of these women are stepping it up, and making pregnant and non-pregnant women alike look like slackers.

First case in point: Beyonce. Leave it to Queen Bey to put us all to shame. The superstar performed a set during this year’s Grammy Awards. One portion featured her leaning back in a chair perched at a very precarious angle. (I don’t know about you, but my heart was in my throat for that whole portion. And I audibly exhaled when she got off that chair.)

Beyonce had also been scheduled to perform at Coachella before withdrawing. But we can’t fault her for that, considering she’s done more while pregnant than many people do in their lives.

Serena Williams is widely acknowledged to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tennis player in the world. Last month, she announced her pregnancy. When she announced the news, Williams was 20 weeks along. Someone very smart (and awesome) did the math and realized that Williams had recently played in a match while pregnant. And, as Laura Wagner at “Deadspin” put it, this wasn’t just any match:

Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, her record-breaking 23rd major, without dropping a single set, while nine fucking weeks pregnant. She is the greatest of all time.

Elsewhere in entertainment, Gal Gadot has been preparing for her upcoming movie “Wonder Woman.” Last November, she shot reshoots for the movie…while also five months pregnant. And she was probably doing more than a few stunts. NBD.

It’s great that we’re seeing so many women dominate during a time in life when women traditionally have been relegated to the sidelines.

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Beyonce and Solange’s #1 Albums: By The Numbers

Beyonce and Solange Knowles (ET Online)

Beyonce and Solange Knowles (ET Online)

Musicians/performers/all-around FLAWLESS women Beyonce and her sister Solange each have achieved something many artists dream of: cracking the Billboard 200 chart. And now each have achieved the distinction of having an album reach #1.

But they also sit in a rarefied strata: Beyonce and Solange are only the third pair of siblings to make the Billboard 200 chart. They’re also the only sisters to achieve this feat.

Since this is such an impressive distinction for the Knowles sisters, here are some numbers that put their joint accomplishment in perspective:

Number of Siblings Who’ve Also Scored #1 Albums: 2

  • Michael and Janet Jackson
  • Master P and Silkk the Shocker

Number of Siblings Who’ve Also Hit #1 in a Calendar Year: 1

  • Michael and Janet Jackson, 2001

Number of Times the Knowles Sisters’ Albums Have Hit #1: 

  • Beyonce: 6
  • Solange: 1

Number of Times Beyonce Hit #1 With Destiny’s Child Albums: 2

Number of Solo Albums Each Knowles Sister Has Released:

  • Beyonce: 6
  • Solange: 3

2016 Album that Hit #1 for Each Knowles Sister:

  • Beyonce: Lemonade
  • Solange: A Seat at the Table

Number of Units Consumed Within First Week of 2016’s Album Release (includes full albums, streaming- and track-equivalents):

Number of Sales Within First Week of 2016’s Album Release:

Best-Selling Album for Each Knowles Sister:

#ThrowbackThursday: Solange, ‘True,’ 2012

Solange, 'True' (The Jewel Wicker Show)

Solange, ‘True’ (The Jewel Wicker Show)

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Beyonce. I’ve seen her three times in concert (The Mrs. Carter Tour 2013, On the Run 2014, and Formation 2016) because I think she’s one of the performers we’ll tell our grandkids about.

I also really like Solange, Beyonce’s sister. And the release of her new album “A Seat at the Table has led me to revisit “True,” her 2012 EP. The above still is from her song of the same name, which Solange filmed in Cape Town, South Africa with members of Les Sape Society. The entire video is beautiful, so definitely watch it if you haven’t yet. The EP’s excellent, too.

#ThrowbackThursday: Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (The Clarion Review)

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (The Clarion Review)

Here’s someone you might not have learned about in history class: British musician Violet Gordon-Woodhouse was born on this day in 1872. She’s known for bringing the harpsichord back into popularity, and used it to make some records. Gordon-Woodhouse was the first person to make a harpsichord recording, and the first musician to broadcast a performance with the instrument.

But her story is also infused with sexuality. She married Gordon Woodhouse in 1895, taking both his names for her professional one, and finagled a marriage very beneficial to her needs: She insisted on time to pursue her career, and to open the marriage. At one point, Gordon-Woodhouse’s menagerie of men swelled to three others besides her main husband. (Sadly, I couldn’t find any photographic evidence of this ménage a cinq.)

I first read about Gordon-Woodhouse in Betsy Prioleau’s 2004 book, “Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love.” (It’s a great book, if you’re interested in learning about women taking a no-holds-barred approach to their life and loves.) We should all aspire to lead our lives as open as Gordon-Woodhouse did.

Do Musicians Get Laid More?

ACDC's Malcolm Young, 1970s (ACDC)

ACDC’s Malcolm Young, 1970s (ACDC)

Happy Friday! We’ve all heard that musicians get laid more than the average dude with no guitar skills. (Well, not just guitar, substitute any instrument here that you prefer.) It’s thought of as a evolutionary differentiator to allow potential partners to pick them on the basis that they’d be a good mate for life, or for just one night.

But is this true?

It turns out that this might not be the case. A recent study, published in “Evolution and Human Behavior,” surveyed 10K+ Swedish twins ages 27-54, both women and men, to determine this dilemma. The study examined benchmarks such as the age each person first had sex, number of sex partners reported and the number of kids they had.

Here’s what the study ultimately found:

Contrary to predictions, the majority of phenotypic associations between musical ability and music achievement with mating success were nonsignificant or significant in the other direction, with those with greater musical ability scoring lower on the measures of mating success.

Looks like every musician you crushed on in high school had some other stuff going on that you found attractive. Because it wasn’t evidently just that guitar.

The results follow two earlier Swedish studies that found that music doesn’t hold enough weight as a desirable-mate signifier to definitively say that the trait/skill alone attracts mates.

So if you’re debating treating yourself to music lessons after that hard-earned promotion, and if you’re looking for partners (short- or long-term), you might want to skip the lessons and just use that promotion as a talking point.

 

Rap Singles’ Analingus References: By The Numbers

Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda' Still (YouTube)

Nicki Minaj ‘Anaconda’ Still (YouTube)

Analingus seems to all over right now, and has lodged itself into our continuing conversation on “acceptable” sexual mores. It seemingly all started earlier this year when a stripper alleged that she tossed Drake’s salad, and then we were off to the races on the topic. (Drake has neither confirmed nor publicly denied these allegations.)

Since we’re talking about it, I wanted to see if popular music reflected the trend. I looked at certain rap artists’ lyrics to see if analingus infiltrated any rap singles released this year, looking for such tell-tale phrases as “anal,” “booty,” “salad tossing,” etc.

Drake:

Drake released two singles this year, “Worst Behavior” (from 2013’s “Nothing Was The Same”) and “0 to 100/The Catch Up” (from next year’s “Views From The 6”).

Neither song directly references analingus.

 

Lil’ Wayne: 

Lil’ Wayne dropped five singles this year: “Rich As Fuck,” “Krazy,” “Gotti,” “Start A Fire,” “Believe Me” and “Grindin’.” (Drake features on the last two songs). All singles were off “Tha Carter V.”

None of the songs reference eating booty.

 

Wiz Khalifa:

Aside from his contributions to the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and WWE 2K15 soundtracks (we’re not counting gun-for-hire works), Khalifa released six singles from “Blacc Hollywood:” “We Dem Boyz,” “KK,” “You and Your Friends,” “Stayin Out All Night,” “Promises” and “So High.”

In “We Dem Boyz,” Khalifa doesn’t mention his booty-eating preferences, but seemingly calls out Nicki Minaj on hers: “Do it just like Nicki gon’ and bend it over.”

Overall, Khalifa’s much more interested in smoking weed that eating out anyone’s ass.

 

Trey Songz:

Songz also released six singles this year: “NaNa,” “Smart Phones,” “Foreign,” “Change Your Mind,” “What’s Best For You,” and “Touchin’, Lovin'” (featuring Nicki Minaj).

In “Foreign,” Songz throws in a few references to a woman’s ass (that it’s large and she’s tweaking), but he stops short of implying analingus.

Though Minaj guests on “Touchin’, Lovin'” and raps abut her sexual prowess, she only talks about her penetrative sexual prowess and doesn’t mention giving or receiving analingus.

 

Nicki Minaj:

It’s been a banner year for Nicki Minaj, and her ass. The rapper has brought her signature aggressive, take-no-prisoners style into the analingus arena, and we’re all eating it up (ha). We’ve heard about her booty getting love in two separate singles this year.

In “Anaconda,” from “this dude named Michael:” “he toss my salad like his name Romaine”

In “Only,” subverting the traditional passive female tone and telling us what she’d have Drake and Lil Wayne do: “menage with ’em and let ’em eat my ass like a cupcake.”

 

I find it very interesting that a woman is the only one opening putting it out there that she enjoys analingus.  Since women have traditionally and culturally been seen as docile and passive sexual beings (when they’re even afforded that agency), I love that Nicki Minaj is subverting the expectation and going on the offensive and owning it.

Though analingus awareness is growing, it isn’t yet resonating within rap lyrics, with the exception of Minaj. That might change as the act goes more mainstream.

Google Trends: “Feminism” and “Feminist” (and Beyoncé)

'***Flawless' Still, 2013 (Huffington Post)

‘***Flawless’ Still, 2013 (Huffington Post)

On Dec. 13, 2013, Beyoncé’s self-titled studio album unexpectedly dropped, leading to rave critical reviews (and setting an iTunes record in the process). It quickly became apparent that Beyoncé was launching new sexual and feminist identities (particularly in “***Flawless”), and the world eagerly embraced her and feminism.

We have the anecdotal and cultural evidence. But do Google searches show this?

Leading up to its first anniversary, we look at how interest in feminism has changed over the past year, and how Beyoncé might have impacted that. All trends are for the United States.

First, some long-run patterns:

Google Trends: 'Feminism' and 'Feminist,' 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Feminism’ and ‘Feminist,’ 2004-Present

The above shows search term “feminism” (blue line) and “feminist” (red line) tracking from January 2004 to present. Throughout the decade, both terms parallel each other in terms of popularity, and hit the same peaks and lows: Each term’s most popular month occurred in April 2004, and the least popular month was August 2010.

It’s interesting to see how each term started out strong and then dipped down, and is now climbing back up.

 

Let’s look at how each term performed within the last 12 months (“Feminism” is the blue line, and “feminist” is the red line):

Google Trends: 'Feminism' and 'Feminist,' Last 12 Months (Dec. 2013-Dec. 2014)

Google Trends: ‘Feminism’ and ‘Feminist,’ Last 12 Months (Dec. 2013-Dec. 2014)

Searches for each term grew the week from Dec. 22-28, 2013. There are some spikes, the first of which occurs the week of Aug. 24-30, 2014. Beyoncé performed a medley of songs from her self-titled album at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which aired on Aug. 25. More notably, she performed “***Flawless” in front of a giant lit marquee claiming her as a “FEMINIST.”

The last baby spike in traffic for the terms occurred during Nov. 16-22, 2014, which was the week before Beyoncé released the Platinum Edition.

 

But how many people were searching for “feminism” and “feminist” in conjunction with Beyoncé? Let’s take a look:

Google Trends: 'Beyoncé Feminism' and 'Beyoncé Feminist,' Last 12 Months (Dec. 2013-Dec. 2014)

Google Trends: ‘Beyoncé Feminism’ and ‘Beyoncé Feminist,’ Last 12 Months (Dec. 2013-Dec. 2014)

This trend shows searches for “beyoncé feminism” (blue line) and “beyoncé feminist” (red line) over the past 12 months. She released her album on Dec. 13, which accounts for the notable spike occurred the week of Dec. 15-21, 2013. After that, both terms go relatively quiet during spring 2014 (and completely dormant during summer 2014), before “beyoncé feminist” makes an astronomical comeback the week of her VMAs performance.

 

Clearly, Beyoncé and her self-titled blockbuster album had an effect on basic terms “feminism” and “feminist.” We’ll have to see if this is a one-time thing, or will endure over time.