Beyonce’s Pretty Hurts is one of the most powerful music videos I’ve watched. It talks about the pressure that a woman faces to look and behave a certain way in a beauty pageant. But the pressure seems to apply not only to contestants in a pageant but also to public figures, celebrities and our very own ordinary everyday people. Of all the scenes in the video, this particular shot appealed to me the most. Here you see her standing before a shelf full of trophies, holding one of them like a weapon, her eyes sparkling with anger and hurt. In the course of the video, she destroys all the trophies with the reckless abandon we all wish we had.
“What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters.”
A lot is said about how a woman must look, act, react, sit, talk, walk, behave and function. We’ve all heard it. Legs crossed, knees together, back straight, good posture. Eyeliner on point, eyebrows on fleek, contoured cheekbones, smoothened hair, toned legs, toned arms, toned waist, toned everything. I cannot speak for other females out there, but I hardly ever display any of these ‘feminine’ qualities. I’m 17 years old. I absolutely do not have a perfect body. My hair is a frizzy wild mess majority of the time. I cannot apply eyeliner to save my life and the few times I have tried to apply nail polish, it has resulted in miserable failure and huge amounts of frustration. I prefer leggings and t-shirts to dresses and skirts. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I wore a skirt. Whenever I do wear a dress, I tend to be visibly uncomfortable in it, which takes away whatever little glamour there is left in the outfit. No, I am not a tomboy. Not that that is a bad thing. It’s just not me. There are times when I want to dress up, apply make-up, wear heels and attempt to carry off a dress. It doesn’t worry me that my moods keep switching. This is how I am, and I am fine with that.
“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation..”
I have never been very bothered with my weight. I weigh enough for my age and height. There are days when I eat healthy, home-cooked meals and there are days when I gorge on junk food like I’m not going to see tomorrow. I try to maintain a more or less stable weight. My super fast metabolism doesn’t let me gain too much weight, anyway. But I’ve seen friends complain of how fat they are, I’ve seen relatives greet each-other with exclamations of how fat or thin one has become, I’ve seen casual fat jokes being thrown at people who are over-weight. It’s not my place to tell you how much you should weigh or how you should eat. I don’t know the first thing about fitness. But I believe that if you are happy with your weight and if it doesn’t have any repercussions on your health, then who in the world has the right to tell you how you must look? I don’t think a person’s weight determines what kind of person they are, or the way they carry themselves, their ideas and beliefs or their relationships with others.
“It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”
So you want to tone something? Tone that personality. Let your ideas and thoughts be on point. Contour those ambitions, make them as sharp as you want. Because societal expectations of what constitutes femininity are just a little too messy. Make them on fleek like your eyebrow game.
P.S. The quotes are from the song Pretty Hurts mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Watch it here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w
Read more about body positivity here- https://www.buzzfeed.com/bodypositivityweek