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.
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Crime Writer Leah Carroll, who is also married, recalled an awkward moment with an ex that chided her for “buying into outdated notions of monogamy” when she asked if he had plans to propose.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.”
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.