For many people, myself included, the messages in Beyoncé's new album hit home. In songs such as "***Flawless," Beyoncé sings about the unrealistic expectations put on women to always look "flawless" from the instant they wake up in the morning. In fact, the lyric "I woke up like this," in addition to becoming a popular catchphrase, has spawned social media movements on sites like Instagram and Twitter, with users challenging themselves and others to post pictures of what they actually look like when they wake up. Working to shatter the myth of flawlessness is a quest I admire, especially when one considers the amount of young girls listening to Beyoncé's lyrics.
"***Flawless" also features Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose speech about inequities between the sexes, unfair pressures put on young girls, and the importance of feminism is interwoven brilliantly between verses of song. Once again, this message, while pertinent for all, is especially relevant to the young girls who adore Beyoncé, for, if Queen Bey is a feminist, it must mean that feminism is a big deal. I remember, in my middle school classes, being taunted by boys who would use the insult, "Aliza's a feminist! Aliza's a feminist!" The fact that "feminist" was employed as a jeer, and, moreover, the fact that I received it as such, and in turn felt embarrassed and stupid, is a conundrum that might have been solved with the help of lyrics like Beyoncé's. With the support of a pop culture icon, budding feminists, like my young self, are better equipped to face skeptical peers.
Beyoncé has done a word of good, not only for younger generations of girls, but for all women who feel empowered by her music.
So where does the problem lie?
Beyonce's false internship program, which I stumbled across on Facebook page after Facebook page on April Fool's Day, seemed, at first glance, to be a great opportunity. "Benefits" included direct access to the empire that is Beyoncé's company, college credit, and "three selfies with Beyoncé," just to name a few. This all seemed great. Then, a few lines down, under the heading "Internship Responsibilities:"
• "Finding unflattering Beyoncé photos on the Internet and requesting their removal"
Those who know a bit about Beyoncé know that this is nothing new. As this Gawker article explains, after Beyoncé's 2013 Super Bowl performance, her publicist requested the removal of "unflattering" photographs of the performer which had been compiled by another social media site, Buzzfeed. Clearly, it is Beyoncé's -- or at least her publicist's -- prerogative to have no unflattering photos of Beyoncé on the Internet, or, we can assume, anywhere else. No proof, it seems, can exist, that Bey is not always "***Flawless."
Do I even need to point out the irony?
Practice what you preach, Beyoncé. If we shouldn't aspire to unrealistic ideals of perfection, why can't we see your flaws? Messages about imperfection delivered by celebrities who appear, in every way, perfect, are empty and worthless. Show us your flaws, just as you tell us it's okay to show our own.