When Beyonce's Waist Means More Than the Music

The overwhelming reaction to Beyonce's surprise new album has been largely positive.  The Guardian wrote that, "Beyonce's new album should silence her feminist critics," and the New Statesman praised the artist for using her music to speak out against sexism in the entertainment industry. While most news agencies were celebrating the empowering aspects of Beyonce's latest LP, the Daily Mail felt it was more important to focus on how thin Beyonce is. o-BEYONCE-570 "Pretty Hurts" is a song that is dedicated to critiquing mainstream beauty culture that is dedicated to the pressure that women should be "pretty" above all else, because pretty is going to get you places...at least that's what we are told.  And while Beyonce is picked apart by pageant judges and staff her other contestants eat cotton balls instead of food and she's popping pills.  The lyrics send a very clear message. "Mama said, you’re a pretty girl / What’s in your head it doesn’t matter / Brush your hair, fix your teeth / What you wear is all that matters ... Pretty hurts / Shine the light on whatever’s worse / Perfection is the disease of a nation / Pretty hurts / Shine the light on whatever’s worse / Try'na fix something / But you can’t fix what you can’t see / It’s the soul that needs the surgery." And yet the DailyMail can't do anything but wax on about how trim Beyonce is after having a child two years ago.  The point that women should stop determining their value by their waist size and conventional beauty is lost.  And yet how many of the viewers of the video were themselves looking at Beyonce and admiring her body...almost as the definition of "making it." So often we try to lay the blame about the sad state of womanhood today in someone else's lap. "It's men's fault because they are the ones in power calling the shots in Hollywood and advertising agencies."  Or "no one is holding a gun to a woman's head forcing her to pose naked or wear revealing clothes.  She's doing this willingly."  It's a vicious cycle where no one wants to take responsibility even when middle school girls are being diagnosed with eating disorders.  Take a good hard look in the mirror to see what you do to perpetuate the cycle and change that.

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