The video I chose to analyze is Beyonce Knowles’ “Pretty Hurts,” from her album “Beyonce” which was released in 2013. The music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas. The song starts off with a pageant host asking Beyonce, who plays a pageant contestant, what is her aspiration in life and Beyonce answers “to be happy. ” To me, the song “Pretty Hurts,” means someone who goes above and beyond to try and fit in and be something they are not. In the end, they may become what they have been trying to become but deep down inside they still will not be happy with themselves.
The song “Pretty Hurts” is a voice that targets young girls and portrays a mother’s contradiction. The music video however, signifies the reality of life and sets a mood to the viewers. The beginning of the song creates the setting of the video, a pageant scene. The song goes on and Beyonce begins to sing about how her mother always told her that beauty is all that matters in this world: “Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl, what’s in your head, it doesn’t matter. ” The chorus of the song contradicts what her mother tells her because the chorus sings about how women struggle to be perfect to fit society’s standard of beauty.
Beyonce also sings about how people should not focus only on physical beauty because that is not all that matters instead they need to focus on the beauty within which is self-love. The song is about loving oneself and not striving for perfection because we all know no one is perfect. In the music video Beyonce plays a pageant contestant who strives to be perfect to fit in with the other girls she is competing with, but no matter how hard she tries she cannot succeed.
The music video to “Pretty Hurts” would be considered a conceptual video because the purpose of the video was not to tell a story but to create a certain mood. The mood that the video created for me was sympathetic. After watching the video, I had sympathy for Beyonce’s character in the video because she was very relatable. The video could also convey a sad mood to some people because they may relate to the scene where Beyonce forces herself to throw up to lose weight because people think she is too big.
The video could put some people in an angry mood because they may not agree with what it portrays. Some people may watch the video and think that the video is trying to promote the idea that girls need to fit in to society’s standard of beauty. Many people can watch the video and relate to it some way or another. There is an obvious connection between the song lyrics and the music video. The song lyrics start off with a pageant host asking a pageant contestant a pageant question while the setting of the video was a pageant contest.
The connection between the video and the lyrics is the theme it shares which is finding the beauty in imperfection. The theme of the song is expressed in the video when Beyonce does all she can to look perfect to win the pageant contest but even though she does not win she finds the beauty she has within because she realizes that she is her own definition of pretty. I believe the music video targets young girls who look up to celebrities and assume that they are perfect because society makes it seem like they are.
The video targets these young girls because the storyline of the video is very appealing to young girls. Most young girls dream of being crowned the winner of a beauty pageant which is why I believe Beyonce used a pageant contest as the plot of the music video to appeal to young girls. Another technique the music video uses to target young girls as the audience is in the video Beyonce does some very controversial acts like making herself vomit to lose weight and be thinner. The music video does this to show young girls the real truth behind what it takes to be society’s definition of pretty.
The music video mainly focuses on Beyonce throughout the video and not much of the other characters because people look at Beyonce and assume she is perfect and has everything going for her. I believe Beyonce purposely made the video focus on her because she wants to show people that she is not perfect and she too struggles to fit in to society’s standards. When Beyonce loses the pageant contest, I believe that is a symbol of how she is not perfect and she does not always win.
A symbol that stood out to me while watching the video was in the end after Beyonce lost the competition she threw all the trophies off the stand and smashed them. The smashing of the trophies symbolizes an act of release. She grew up all her life trying to be picture perfect like her mother taught her. She altered her physical appearance to be more appealing to the public just to win a trophy. When she finally became overwhelmed by everything she went through to look perfect the trophies were not worth it anymore.
Her smashing the trophies was a symbol of her breaking free from society’s standard of beauty. She finally realized her worth and the importance of self-love which is why in the end there was a scene of her in her natural beauty. She was content with not being perfect like everyone perceived her to be. I think the music video is more powerful than the song lyrics because it gives the viewers a visual of what the song is about. The music video stirs up more emotions than the lyrics because viewers who watch the video can see the emotions of the characters in the video and can make connections with the video.
Matsoukas, M. (Producer). (2013). Pretty Hurts
. September 17, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w.