Flawless

In this week’s module, we looked into detail about how music can be used as an advocacy for change. Today, a constant battle all women have to face is negative body image. There are magazines that portray women who give unrealistic body expectations to girls. They are photoshopped to look slim, tall, have clear skin, perfect hair, and the most fashionable clothing. Additionally, social media is a dangerous tool for girls to compare their lives to other girls’ lives. Fortunately, there have been many songs by popular female artists that completely go against the grain of society. These songs address these issues and show women that they should be proud of who they are, exactly how they are. I have provided several song examples below that address these topics.

Selena Gomez — “Who Says”

This is a very sweet song that can specifically influence girls in middle school and high school. She repeats many lines, such as “I wouldn’t want to be anybody else” and “Who says you’re not pretty/perfect/beautiful?” All of these things paint the clear image that Selena Gomez wants to portray — that young women should not be ashamed of themselves. The verses go on to explain that there is no reason why young girls shouldn’t be able to chase after their dreams. This song advocates girls to be confident in themselves physically and confident in their abilities.

Christina Aguilera — “Beautiful”

This song specifically alludes to the effects of bullying, and Christina Aguilera hows this by repeating the words “I am beautiful in every single way, words can’t bring me down… so don’t you bring me down today.” In this song, Christina Aguilera represents the people that become insecure as a result of other peoples’ opinions. This song has simple lyrics accompanied by a piano, and the message is clear: that (to the listener) no matter what people say, it does not change the beauty that is inside of them.

Beyonce — “Pretty Hurts”

I could not manage to make a post about using music as an advocacy for women without mentioning songs by Beyonce. This is a favorite song of mine, and the music video is extremely captivating and moving. This song zones in on the specific topic of what the media tells girls to be. The media tells girls to be perfect. The song is entitled “Pretty Hurts,” because it is impossible for girls to live up to this standard of perfection. However, Beyonce gives a solution to this problem. She says that “it’s the soul that needs the surgery.” And then, towards the end of the song, she repeatedly asks “are you happy with yourself?” Through this song, she shows her audience that there are far more important things to worry about than outward appearance. Ultimately, the most important thing for a girl to do is make sure that she is happy. Chasing after the shallow standards of society will prove to be worthless every time. I provided the lyrics below.

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

Just another stage
Pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down

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
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says bigger is better
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says
Thinner is better

Just another stage
Pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

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
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Ain’t no doctor or therapeutic that can take the pain away
The pain’s inside
And nobody frees you from your body
It’s the soul that needs surgery
It’s my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
And you break when the paper signs you in the dark
You left a shattered mirror
And the shards of a beautiful girl

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
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

When you’re alone all by yourself
And you’re lying in your bed
Reflection stares right into you
Are you happy with yourself
It’s just a way to masquerade
The illusion has been shed
Are you happy with yourself
Are you happy with yourself
Yes

Lyrics from:

https://play.google.com/music/preview/Tmbocratvk3a7ebvudajavh4eky?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics

Beyonce — “Flawless”

This song has pure feminist intentions. I love this song, because unlike the “Who Says” and “Beautiful,” it is not soft and cute in its message — Beyonce gets straight to the point. In a way, she directly addresses the bullies and does so in a forceful way. I did not post all of the lyrics, but my favorite lines are below. The first verse is spoken in the middle of the song. The second verse is sung, and it repeats the word “flawless” over and over again. This hammers in the idea (and the truth) that girls do not have to be ashamed of themselves. Obviously, this is the main idea in all of these songs, yet Beyonce displays this idea in a much different way than the other two songs. She does so in an intense, R&B style (filled with strong words and a fair amount of cussing), while the Selena Gomez and Christina Aguilera songs are pop songs. This is just proof that there are multiple effective ways that music can send the same message. In this way, I am grateful for the versitality of music. There is a style of music that has the power to reach any individual.

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

You wake up, flawless
Post up, flawless
Ride round in it, flawless
Flossin on that, flawless
This diamond, flawless
My diamond, flawless
This rock, flawless
My rock, flawless
I woke up like this
I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell ‘em
I woke up like this
I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell ‘em
Say I, look so good tonight
God damn, God damn
Say I, look so good tonight
God damn, God damn

Lyrics from:

https://play.google.com/music/preview/Trdbu4zh262kkbjxdb4hxzqm3iu?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics

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