Some of the social critiques that “Run The World (Girls)” is making is that men believe they run this world and that women must just stand back and do as they say. It is bringing attention to the fact that women should not be ruled by men and that they are more than capable of making money and excelling in the workforce just like men. 

Pretty much all of the lyrics are a direct attack on the men in this world who do nothing to advocate for women’s rights and equality or men who think that women should “do as they say.” The song starts off with Beyonce repeating “Girls, we run this motha, yeah” four times. She then sings “Who run the world?/Girls” twelve times in a row. This repetition not only makes the song catchy but it allows the lyrics to stick in someone’s memory and gets her point across in a very obvert way.

Beyonce continues by singing “Make your check come at they neck/disrespect us no they won’t”. It is almost like she is talking to all women directly. She is saying here that women can make their own money. Women don’t need men to get money or to just be stay at home moms. At the very end of the song she talks about working mothers. She says “Boy you know you love it/How we’re smart enough/To make these millions/Strong enough to bare the children/The get back to business”. This is an obvious attack on men who do not believe in a woman’s potential and capabilities to work just as long and at jobs just as difficult as men’s. Beyonce is directly saying that women are smart, can make a lot of money, have children, and then get back to work. Beyonce talks about this a lot five years later in her Homecoming film. She discusses what it is like to bounce back after going through a difficult pregnancy and how her children need the love, support, and attention. She still managed to rehearse and perform at Coachella right after having children. She believes that all women are capable of bouncing back and being working mothers just like men are working fathers.

Continuing, Beyonce gives a direct shout out to all women in the song “This goes out to all my girls/That’s in the club rocking the latest/Who will buy it for themselves/And get more money later”. This is again reiterating that women don’t need a man’s money. They can spend their own money and make it back. She then sings “Boy I’m just playing/Come here baby/Hope you still like me/“F” you pay me”. In this part of the song she is “apologizing” to her man, or all men for possibly offending them by standing up for herself and women. But, she quickly turns it around again and has that “screw that, I don’t need a man” attitude. Right after she sings “My persuasion can build a nation/Endless power/Our love we can devour/You’ll do anything for me”. She feels as though women can persuade men, that women have endless power, and that men will do anything for them. 

Additionally, this is one of my favorite sections. Beyonce sings, “I’m repping for the girls/Who taking over the world/Have me raise a glass/For the college grads”. This entire section is very powerful. She not only states she is representing all women, but she is giving a shout out to all the women who, just like men, go to college and graduate looking to get an amazing job that can pay just as well as men’s jobs. She wants to applaud those women who work just as hard in school. They should be given the equal opportunity to get just a well paid job as a man would. She discusses this when she talks at the Hillary Clinton rally saying that she wants her daughter to grow up in a world where women have equal rights and power.  She then sings “I wrote my 9 to 5/Gotta cop my cheque/This goes out to all the women getting it in/Get on your grind/To the other men/That respect what I do/Please accept my shine”. Here she is stating that women can “be on their grind”, work 9 to 5 and get their money. She also gives a special shout out to the men who do respect and support women having equality in the world, but specifically in the workplace. 

The R&B and electropop genres enable these critiques. R&B is supposed to be about bringing attention to issues in the world and this song does exactly that. Beyonce draws attention to the issues of inequalities in the workplace. The electropop genre gives the song a timeless feel. This could have been a song applied to the world a hundred years ago and still 8 years later. Like the genre, the song is very catchy and it allows people to keep singing the song and for those problems she discusses to stick in people’s minds. It reminds women subconsciously that they can run the world too. 

Beyonce does not directly give a solution to these problems, but there are definitely some things implied by the lyrics. Her basic message throughout the song is “girls can be as rich and powerful as men”. While she does not say exactly how to do that, the song is encouraging women to go to college, go out use their own money and earn it back, and that after they have children, they can still work 9 to 5 and make it work. She empowers women to not let these powerful men take them down or discourage them from working just as hard. There is no policy-like solutions offered.