this is SO LATE to the game, but the 'behind the scenes' video came out earlier today and i wanted to write something about the song 'pretty hurts' and its video.
people have been saying that the message of this song and the music video are not justified because beyonce is obviously a gorgeous person, but it goes deeper than that. it picks out:
1. the way the 'pretty' girls of the video, and by proxy, of our image-obsessed society, are desperate to prove their worth solely through their beauty, and will go to extreme lengths to do this.
2. the fact that the looks of girls are pitted against one another from a young age, although not explicitly. we constantly see images of beauty being the one source of validity for females. chimamanda ngozi adichie has mentioned before, and is sampled as saying in beyonce's 'flawless', that competition can be good for girls. this is in conjunction with our careers, our sporting, scientific, academic, artistic achievements. however, this should not be applied to something as superficial as our appearance.
3. it also points out the narrow definition of pretty, body-wise. the video does feature a mix of ethnicities, but what is focused on is the little leeway that is given for body shape and size. even the beyonce of the video, with her curves, tiny waist, and muscle tone, is trussed up in measuring tape, botoxed, and works out diligently to maintain the perfect weight. the pageant, a microcosm of the real world, only has places for tall, skinny-but-not-too-skinny, smiling girls.
the crux of the video and the song (i've been obsessing over the clip a little too much) is not only about the injustice of beauty norms, but also how smashing these is empowering. beyonce literally does it, destroying the pageant trophies that directly reference her past as a young pageant queen, and the video emphasises that this will allow what is truly important, 'to be happy', presumably without concerns about your weight or facial features.
going back to my earlier point that people have criticised beyonce for the seemingly hypocritical point of the song ('how can she say it hurts when she's so beautiful?'), we cannot dictate what beyonce's relationship with her body is. we do not live inside her head, and therefore cannot say that this song is a non-constructive statement. what 'pretty hurts' does do, however, is examine in depth the expectations pertaining to the appearance of young women and their limiting force.
(ps i rly like beyonce's wire rabbit ears they are SO CUTE that whole outfit is generally my fave)