9/52: No Beauty Queen


This week’s lyrics:  “I’m no beauty queen, I’m just beautiful me.”

Selena Gomez’s “Who Says”

I’m not familiar with Selena Gomez’s music. Nor do I know much about her.  She dated the Biebs. (Uh. Why???) But OK, that’s a different story.  For the purpose of this week’s challenge, I watched the video of “Who Says.”  And I couldn’t help but think:  how disappointing.  How lame.  Here I was hoping she would deliver a positive, empowering message to her listeners, girls like my students who are so impossibly hard on themselves about their appearances and everything else. But throughout the whole video, while platitudes like “true beauty is beneath the surface” flash on the screen, she sings and smiles and strides confidently down a city street while wearing full makeup.  At one point, she walks into a restroom and makes like she wipes it off. Except she doesn’t. It’s still there, just less of it. From there, she joins an adoring crowd on the beach and performs a concert. With her high-gloss lips and subtle eye shadow and liner that is supposed to fool us into thinking it’s natural.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s just a pop song. You don’t necessarily look for much substance there. But I say, if your message is all about NOT being a “beauty queen,” about how looks don’t matter, then hey, maybe you can drop the professional hair and make-up for this one.

So, my interpretation this week is a combination of photography and spine poetry as resistance to the societal pressure placed on girls and women to fit somebody else’s idea of “beautiful.” There are far more important things than beauty pageants and pretty princesses, and since celebrities like Selena seem to offer up nothing more than (shiny) lip service, it’s up to us to make sure our girls know it.


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