Beyonce Premieres New Music Video for “Pretty Hurts”
On April 23, Beyonce premiered her new music video for her single, “Pretty Hurts.” The video portrays the life of a beauty pageant contestant, and the side of the cutthroat competitions that the judges and audience do not see. Throughout the video, we see beauty contestants obsess over their bodies, harshly judge each other, and do anything they can to fit the mold of perfection.
The lyrics of the song question the ideals of perfection and beauty in our society. They point to the feelings of inadequacy that come when seeking perfection saying,
“Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts/ Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), 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.”
In the middle of the video, the music stops and we see the pageant announcer ask “Miss 3rd Ward” (Beyonce) what her aspiration in life is. After moments of struggling to find the answer she replies, “my aspiration in life would be to be happy.”
Both the video and the song question why we seek this ideal of beauty when it never leads to happiness. The last line of the song asks, “are you happy with yourself?” It is a criticism on the focus of outward beauty that causes people to feel inadequate about their physical appearance.
In a behind the scenes video of “Pretty Hurts,” both Beyonce and director Melina Matsoukas talk about the overall message of the video. Beyonce and Matsoukas believe women in our society are too pressured to achieve an outer beauty, and the lengths they will go to obtain this beauty is heartbreaking.
The inspiration for the video was a photo of Beyonce when she was younger, standing in front of her beauty pageant trophies. The video questions the worth of pageant beauty and societal pressures to conform. When all the glam is stripped away, the trophies were only based on outer beauty rather than inner beauty and substance. The message of the song is to disregard the things that the world tells you will make you happy and find what makes you truly happy.
Alongside the release of the “Pretty Hurts” video, Beyonce also launched a social media movement called #WhatIsPretty, where she encouraged people to post photos to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag “#WhatIsPretty” of things they think are beautiful.
What do you think about Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts?” Do you think it conveys a good message? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @whatsthesich