Beyonce is recognized as an icon of women empowerment. She is one of the most influential celebrities in the world. In Beyonce’s music video, “Pretty Hurts,” femininity is shown through the struggles and pressures women go through to meet the unrealistic standards of beauty. Compared to the topic of femininity, the representation of masculinity is very limited in the music video. Also, the music video challenges the gender stereotypes and deals with third wave feminism. Women struggle daily in order to meet the unrealistic standards of beauty.
In the beginning of the music video, Beyonce and the other women are seen doing their hair and makeup and choosing their outfits. In the article, “No More Miss America,” feminists protest that, “women in our society are forced to compete for male approval, and enslaved by ludicrous beauty standards” (No More Miss America 29). This means that women are solely judged based on their appearance. In the music video, Beyonce sings, “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” (Beyonce).
This influences that being pretty is the important factor and intelligence is not necessary. Beyonc contradicts her mother by singing, “Pretty Hurts… You can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs the surgery” (Beyonce). Also, there is a scene where Beyonce is intentionally making herself vomit. Another woman is seen eating cotton balls, in order to advert herself from getting hungry. There is also a scene where Beyonce is on the scale, smiling but the instructor looked unpleasant. He then tells her to get off the scale because she was too heavy and not good enough.
Women are constantly struggling to feel good about themselves by relying on unhealthy diets for fast weight loss. Society constantly pressures women into losing weight because “vogue says, ‘Thinner is better” (Beyonce). Also, in the music video, women are shown being taught to be as perfect as a barbie doll. The way they walk, how they speak, and wave all have to be perfect. The article, “No More America,” argue that, the pageants forced women to be oppressed and it enslaves us to be in high heeled, low status roles.
Women cannot be ourselves because we are constantly pressured into being perfect, but Beyonce says that “perfection is a disease of a nation” (Beyonce). On the other hand, the representation of masculinity is very limited in the music video. Hypermasculinity is portrayed throughout some of the scenes because it exaggerates how men treat women. When Beyonce gets on the scale towards the middle of the video, the instructor, who is a man, is seen unsatisfied and tells her to get off. It shows how the instructor didn’t think Beyonce was “good enough.
Also, in the article, “No More Miss America,” feminists protest that pageants make “women oppressed and men oppressors” (30). Pageants give no choice but to make men look bad because the judges are usually men. Also, in the article, “An Analysis of Hyper Masculinity in Magazine Advertisements,” they argue that calloused attitudes towards women and sex is one of the masculine gender ideology. The music video portrayed men as judgmental and aggressive. The music video challenges the stereotypes because although it shows how women are pressured into being pretty, Beyonce’s main point was self empowerment.
In the song, Beyonce sings, “Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts (x3), we shine the light on whatever’s worst. We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s the soul that needs the surgery” (Beyonce). They believe that they can fix their flaws with plastic surgery, but the reason they aren’t able to find happiness is because they need to fix their heart and soul. Beauty is an internal struggle and women need to realize that no one can resolve the problem but yourself.
Beyonce wants us to realize that we should love ourselves rather than striving for perfection because no one is perfect. Beyonce’s ‘Pretty Hurts” music video portrayed the view of third wave feminism. In the music video, the second verse says, “Blonder hair, flat chest” (Beyonce). Society attempts to make women fit closer to the “ideal women,” which has to have blonde hair and be thin. This excludes the women of color, because it represents only white women. The whole music video portrays the struggles Beyonce went through. Although Beyonce didn’t win, she happily congratulates the winner.
In the end, it shows Beyonce, as a little girl, winning a competition in Houston, Texas and giving a speech. In the article, “Multiracial Feminism: Recasting the Chronology of Second Wave Feminism,” Becky Thompson argues that multiracial feminism is characterized by international perspective, it’s attention to interlocking oppressions, and it’s support of coalition. Thompson argues that we don’t have to be in a group to now that an injustice is wrong and to stand against it. Beyonce is a powerful women who advocates female empowerment.
Also, in the article, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,” Audre Lorde argues that “black and third world people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity” (Lorde 104). Beyonce is a perfect example of what Lorde claims in her article. Instead of ignoring the issue, we could simply resolve the issue by breaking the silence. Through her music videos, Beyonce encourages society to change and helps us realize that our world is living in an illusion. She helps us realize that the only way society will get better is if we realize the problem and try to resolve it.
Not only is Beyonce a feminist who believes in equality for women, Beyonce is a powerful woman who gives women of color hope. In conclusion, in the music video, “Pretty Hurts” by Beyonce, it shows how femininity is shown through the struggles and pressures women go through in order to meet the unrealistic standards of beauty. Masculinity is also represented in the video, but is very limited. The music video also challenges the gender stereotypes, women of color and white privilege. Beyonce is an influential and powerful women who can help change the structure of how the society is constructed.