Anyone who has heard “Hold Up,” the upbeat second track of Beyoncé’s latest album "Lemonade," recognizes this question from the refrain. Like most of the album and short film, Queen B goes through the stages of grief when discovering her husband’s infidelity. “Hold Up” details the shock and the denial of her discovery, and rightfully so—who would ever cheat on Beyoncé? She is flawless.
Bey sings: “What’s worse, looking jealous or crazy, jealous or crazy? Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately, I’d rather be crazy.”
Jealousy, in my opinion, can be the most painful emotion because it combines sadness and anger. The sadness of not getting what you wanted mixes with the anger that someone else now has that very same thing into a powerful emotion. This two headed monster of emotion is even worse because it is not something one can easily diffuse. One cannot help feeling jealous, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.
What one can control is acting crazy. Acting crazy is a choice and each person chooses their actions. “Crazy” is not an emotion. Emotions are felt, and no matter how much one may try, cannot be completely ignored. When acting on an emotion, such as jealousy, in a way that is not typically socially acceptable, it is then labeled “crazy.” For example, when Beyoncé learns about Jay-Z’s affair, she feels jealous, and then acts crazy by smashing everything with a baseball bat. She certainly does it with style though.
Beyoncé says she would rather be crazy than walked on and disrespected. Basically, she would rather act and demand respect than feel sorry for herself. My issue it this: Is Beyoncé crazy for expecting a respectful, faithful relationship with her husband? This is not even her long term boyfriend, friend with benefits, crush from Chemistry class or the guy she met on Tinder (all of whom should be respectful as well, by the way). This is someone who legally committed to spend his life with her for better or for worse. She is not crazy for expecting him to be faithful—she is right.
The fear of being labeled a “crazy” girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, wife etc. has made it so that women are afraid to demand the courtesy they deserve from their partners. It is certainly not “crazy” to expect a relationship where one is not made to feel inconsequential, hurt or jealous; however, when these things are requested, or when the opposite behavior is reprimanded, it is called “crazy.” Maybe taking a baseball bat to a car is too far, maybe that is crazy, but civil conversation is not. The stigma of being a “crazy” girl should not stand in the way of demanding respect in a relationship.
I think Beyoncé made a power move with the production of "Lemonade." She has a right to the relationship she deserves, and she uses her art to peacefully ask for that. It sets the example that standing up for oneself does not make one crazy. Although Beyoncé says she would rather be crazy, I have to disagree, since she is not really acting crazy at all. If anything, she is just “Crazy In Love.”