(Photo taken from: dailymail.co.uk)
Queen Bey does it again: big hair, small waist, giant voice, smoldering eyes, and all around sexy. But this time, she does it a little differently. Released Friday 13, 2013, Beyoncé’s new album humbly titled “BEYONCÉ” is a visual-vocal mixture of the genuine talent that flows from this megastar’s mind. What really takes the cake on this new album, though, is her beautiful power ballad titled “Pretty Hurts”. It is a critique of American culture and what we, as a nation, define as beauty. This song is not just something women everywhere need to hear, but men as well. That’s why I’m here: to offer up what it means for pretty to hurt from the male’s viewpoint.
Watch the video here: “Pretty Hurts” music video.
As a twenty-something male, I can’t know the pain girls feel as they travel through the tangled jungle that is adolescence into womanhood. Having two beautiful sisters and Wonder Woman for a mother, I have learned, however, what it means to truly value the gifts that women bring to life. I don’t think girls hear these things enough from men, so I’ll share what Beyoncé’s own words mean to me relating to women.
“Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever’s worse”
What does it mean for pretty to hurt? As a millennial growing up in a nation filled with faster cars, bigger houses, and the desire for smaller bodies, I see the brokenness inside women who are dying for love. We, as a nation, glorify the bodies of women to the point where we edit away the real bodies to make something unreal. We drool over the television set as the VS Angel’s strut down the runway looking like overindulged birds, we sit on the edge of our seats to see who wins Miss America just to rip her apart when she does win, and we flip through the pages of pornography in our magazines, only to critique the girls’ morals and body. America has thrown itself into the vicious cycle of making life something we only see in dreamland. Women drag themselves to the gym after not eating for extended hours because their brains tell them they aren’t good enough. While science admits that anorexia and bulimia are mental illnesses, the media hub continues to morph and advertise life into something that is only attainable through self-destruction and asphyxiation of the soul.
“The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body”
This lyric, I can relate to. I may not understand feeling like I need to be perfect for everyone, but I do understand what it is like to not be able to escape your own pain. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 40 million adults suffer from some sort of anxiety or depressive disorder. This doesn’t even account for the pain people 18 and under feel. So many times we get wrapped up in our own pain that we forget others are slipping through the cracks. Something inside us screams for freedom, yet we continue to trap ourselves in the grips of this world. In the video for “Pretty Hurts”, Beyoncé is asked what her aspiration in life is. Her answer: to be happy. We all know this feeling but we so often forget that there are others around us who can relate, help, and comfort when we are so lost. Personally, I see the pain of so many around me and I can’t help but hurt for them when I see that they look fine, but something in them is dying for love.
“It’s my soul that needs surgery”
I’m not sure where Beyoncé was going with this, but this is how I see it: only our souls can be saved through the healing power of Christ. We frantically search for the newest and best thing and once we get it, we feel as empty as we did before. We try to change our outer appearance while our inside rots into nothing. We look for the best job, the most attention, anything that will make us look important or noteworthy, yet we continue to hurt. In the book of Mark, Jesus heals many people as a result of their radical faith. In chapter 5, Jesus meets a woman who has suffered from years of sickness and was exiled from her city. She was seen as disgusting, unworthy, and below everyone else for a sickness she couldn’t help. When she sees Jesus, she thinks, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well”. When she does this, she is immediately healed from her disease. What is so powerful about this is not that she was healed from touching Jesus’ coat, but rather, she had so much faith in his saving power that she was willing to risk being stoned by the people around her that she may know healing. When Jesus sees her, he says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” So many people cry on the inside of their fancy house and nice body and don’t know how to heal themselves. Sometimes, we just need inexplicable, wholehearted faith to be freed from our pain.
Like I said, I don’t think girls today hear these things enough. It’s okay to be imperfect. In fact, it’s preferred. Being perfect is so unrealistic that it seeps through the skin when someone tries to achieve that status. Women think that looking a certain way is the only way to get attention or a significant other, but in fact, it only dries up the chances of achieving either of those things. Look at the dysfunction in the lives of the “beautiful” women that fill our TV screens and ears. Being perfect isn’t just painful, but it is incredibly unrealistic. Each human was made with unique parts to each of them; to try to change that is to take credit away from the One who created us.
Besides, you can’t marry a Barbie.