How The "Single Ladies" Of Refinery29 Feel About Beyoncé's Iconic Hit 10 Years Later

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Are you ready to feel old? Well, October 13th marks the 10 year anniversary of Beyoncé’s iconic hit, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Let that sink in. It’s been a full decade since Queen Bey made the leotard great again, formally introduced the world to Sasha Fierce, and inspired a Hennessy-fueled Kanye to hop on stage at the 2009 MTV VMA’s to make Taylor Swift famous defend what he considered to be “one of the greatest videos of all time.” The single, from her third studio album I Am… Sasha Fierce, has gone quadruple platinum and won three Grammys in 2010. From Harry Potter GIFs to public proposals (at Beyoncé concerts), “Single Ladies” was and is more than a song. It’s an enduring pop culture phenomenon.
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What’s more, “Single Ladies” was created by and for women. It’s a gold standard for the female empowerment anthem, encouraging women to forget about their trash exes and live their best lives. If you’ve been to a wedding in the last 10 years, the chances that this song was used to herd all of the unmarried women to a designated area to catch the bouquet are pretty high. It’s right up there with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and pumps me up just as much as Trina’s “Da Baddest Bitch” do. I will never not hold up my hand and twist my wrist in defiant pride when it comes on. And I’m not the only woman who has strong feelings about.
I spoke to some other R29ers about “Single Ladies” and they told me stories about how it transformed them and their relationships. Associate Entertainment Editor Maia Efrem shared this sentiment: “It took encouragement from Bey to truly understand that I was the writer of my narrative, an assertiveness that stayed with me through my marriage. Something my husband liked, so he put a ring on it.” And our Crime Writer Leah Carroll, who is also married, recalled an awkward moment with an ex that chided her for “buying into outdated notions of monogamy” when she asked if he had plans to propose. “We heard it the first time when she performed on SNL and just watched in the most uncomfortable silence because this was a man who was basically incapable of being shamed - but even he was shamed when Beyonce told him he should be.”
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These are compelling anecdotes from women who’ve had the ring put on it, but to truly celebrate “Single Ladies,” I needed to hear from its target demographic: unmarried women. So I asked the single ladies at Refinery29 what the song has meant to them over the years. Click through our slideshow to get their thoughts on Beyoncé’s iconic bop, 10 years later.
1 of 10
Channing Hargrove, Fashion Writer
“I remember when ‘Single Ladies’ came out I felt so passionately about it because I had just had a break up. But I was only 22 and definitely not about to get a ring. Then we got back together anyway, and ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ soundtracked the next breakup. But I alway thought he was so stupid for not locking me down and that’s how I still feel about ‘Single Ladies.’”
2 of 10
Natalie Morin, Editorial Assistant
“I've always felt like in music if ‘single ladies’ are mentioned, it's some guy basically calling them out for himself… Not because he's propping them up, but because he wants to flaunt how many options he has. So when Beyoncé's song came out it felt like one of the few songs where a woman is shouting out her single friends and underscoring how much of a treasure they are. That's why is feels so good, safe, and empowering when [I] hear it.”
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3 of 10
Serena Kerrigan, Associate Producer
“I can’t believe that was released 10 years ago… I was FOURTEEEEEN! But I think growing up we are so conditioned to think that having a significant other or in my case, a boyfriend, is tied to our self worth. it was the first time that there was an ANTHEM for single women - to be vocal and proud. Single no longer meant unwanted, it now meant being independent - it meant having choice, and valuing our self-worth so that if these men weren't ready to make the commitment, we were no longer gonna stick around and wait for them to make up their minds. Boom.”
4 of 10
Celeste Chandler, Post-Production Intern
“I feel the exact same way as Bey. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship if the outlook wasn’t looking towards marriage, or if I didn’t feel appreciated. I have expectations and could have options with many men. But what separates them from a potential bae is the way he makes me feel. I want to feel special and valued as a woman because I am not like anything else out there. I want to feel like he knows that.”
5 of 10
Elena Nicolaou, Entertainment Writer
“I agree that [he] should've put a ring on it. But also, if you liked it then you should've done other things too, like verbal communication and compliments or back scratches. There are so many things I want in ADDITION to commitment, thank you.”
6 of 10
Ariana Romero, TV Writer
“As a single lady, I hate the fact that Queen Bey’s perfect anthem will always be wrapped up in Taylor Swift-Kanye West drama (even though he was right). But, of course, it’s still a banger for my #ForeverSingle ways.”
7 of 10
Jessica Cruel, Deputy Beauty Director
“When ‘Single Ladies’ first dropped, being single was like wearing a scarlet letter. In society's viewpoint, a single woman was either crying over a breakup or crying because she wanted a man. This song became a positive anthem for those of us who were satisfied in our solo status. It was a way to say, ‘Yes, I’m single but I have other priorities besides finding a husband.’ Also it’s the song I play when I need a reminder that there are plenty of men out there looking for a good woman. No settling, single ladies!”
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8 of 10
Nikki Tucker, Associate Social Editor: Brand Experiences
“To be honest, I don't think I ever really took the song to heart. But reading the lyrics [today], I definitely understand what she's saying. A lot of time people, specifically women, find themselves in relationships/situations with people for a certain amount of time — I hate to admit it, but timing is important and the one thing we cannot get back — and question their value and/or worth because the other person doesn't seem ready to take things to the next level. Beyoncé wanted to remind women that no matter who you are dating, if they don’t value you and the happiness and love you bring to the table, don't hesitate to leave. A lot of times, women are scared of starting over, but you could be missing your blessing if you stay in a situation where you are not valued.”
9 of 10
Kaitlin Reilly, Trending Entertainment Writer
“When I heard the song for the first time in high school, it totally empowered my singleness. Now that I'm in a serious relationship (but not married) it makes me think about what it means to be ‘committed’ to someone in a serious way. I don't feel like my partner needs to put a ‘ring on it.’ Maybe it's because I can't roll my eyes harder at people on Instagram who change their bios to say ‘engaged’ before any other word describing themselves. Probably not what Bey meant. I don't think she needed Jay to marry her in order to feel good about their relationship. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that but when I hear ‘ring,’ I just think about how much that ring probably costs, and wonder if maybe we need to reevaluate what it means to be really committed.
10 of 10
Maritza Medina, Executive Assistant to the Chief Content Officer
“‘Single Ladies’ is and forever will be an anthem! I was in college when it was released, the memories I have of dancing with my girls and trying to learn the iconic dance choreography are some of my favorites- it was all fun. Nowadays the lyrics resonate with me in a different way, they're empowering and basically my life mood. Queen B is truly timeless!”
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