Proud2Bme | Queen Bee's Mixed Messaging

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Queen Bee's Mixed Messaging

By Laura Porter--Beyoncé sparked a swirl of media attention since she appeared in a killer dress at the Met Gala on May 4. The thing every news outlet is now discussing? Her diet. Actually, not just her diet, but the diet book and meal-delivery service called the “22-Day Revolution,” which she co-created with her trainer, Marco Borges.

This came as a surprise to me, given that not too long ago the singer and outspoken feminist was championing body positivity and encouraging others to challenge the ideals perpetuated in Western culture.  In April of last year, Queen Bee rolled out the “Pretty Hurts” video, which showed the negative impact of society’s unrealistic beauty ideals--and the pressure to be “perfect.”  A day later, she launched the #WhatIsPretty campaign on Instagram encouraging users everywhere to “join the conversation” and share what “pretty” means to them.

What is more surprising to me is that I hadn’t heard much about this “22-Day Revolution” before the Met Gala, even though this business venture began almost four months earlier.  In January of this year, Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z joined with Marco Borges, their trainer, to announce the 22-day home delivery service, founded on the myth that it takes 22 days to make or break a habit (the “psychology” behind the idea isn’t that convincing).

I have to wonder, where did the old Beyoncé go? The role model who taught us to love our bodies, imperfections and all?  What happened to the woman who said she felt that one of her responsibilities is “to inspire women in a deeper way?”  Now it seems this deep inspiration involves adhering to a strict regimen, not unlike “fad” diets like South Beach, which the artist takes a shot at in “Pretty Hurts.”

It’s frustrating to see a celebrity who encourages millions to focus on our strengths, not our shortcomings, and to embrace imperfections dive into the very industry she critiques.  The industry that tells men and women that we’re not good enough as we are.  It tells us that all we have to do is “eat this” or “buy that,” and then--and only then--will we be happy.

Ironically, that’s all “Ms. Third Ward” wants in the opening of “Pretty Hurts.” Her “aspiration in life, is to be...happy.” If that’s what Beyoncé gets from her diet, that’s her choice to make. It’s not her individual eating choices that matter to me, frankly I couldn’t care less.  It’s the mixed messages she sends, particularly to young people.  If we’re able to praise celebrities for their positive statements, we also need to call them out when their actions contradict their words. In one message, we’re strong and empowered. In another, we’re not living the way we should be.

So I’ve got a 22-Day Revolution and you can take it or leave it.  It’s to stop “should-ing” all over ourselves.  To stop telling ourselves--and letting others tell us--what we “should” look, act and feel like, what we “should” put into our bodies. I’m certainly no Beyoncé, but that, to me, is a real revolution.

About this blogger: Laura Porter is a junior at The George Washington University majoring in political communication with a minor in psychology. After taking three semesters off of school for her own mental health struggles, Laura became passionate about advocating for increased awareness of mental illness among college students, specifically eating disorder awareness.  Laura currently serves as the president of Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge at GW (SPEAK GW) as well as a communications intern at Active Minds Inc.  

Photo courtesy of Asterio Tecson/Flickr.com and the Pretty Hurts music video

Also by Laura:

5 Things I've Learned in Recovery (As Told Through Broad City GIFs)

5 Ways to Advocate and Promote Awareness on your Campus

Taking Up Space: An Interview with Beck Cooper

Never Stop Fighting for Recovery

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