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John Legend Says You're Beautiful
July 12, 2014 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Singer John Legend's latest video, "You and I," celebrates all kinds of beauty. And he's getting all kinds of press for it. From Laverne Cox removing her makeup to Tig Notaro fixing her hair, the video features four minutes of women contemplating their reflections while Legend sings that they're beautiful.

Crying women, a boxer with a broken nose, a woman baring her mastectomy scars. A girl with Down's Syndrome, a woman getting ready for her wedding, a group of young women with graduation caps.

Female singers like Pink's "Perfect" have previously emphasized that women are all perfect as they are, but it is unusual for a male singer to so fully celebrate the beauty found in everyone.

Legend teamed up with #OperationGirl, a fundraising campaign focused on charities for women and girls.

“We live in a world where egregious injustices occur regularly against girls and women. We have a responsibility to take action and disrupt the conditions that allow for such tragedies to occur,” Legend said in a statement. “Through #OperationGirl we hope to amplify the voices and impact of the many organizations doing great work on behalf of girls and women.”
posted by kinetic (73 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
So very dusty and windy here at my desk, so damn dusty and windy.
posted by NiteMayr at 8:06 AM on July 12 [8 favorites]


My wife walked by my office and said, "I love you" in the middle of this.

There are so many damned onions in this room right now.
posted by DigDoug at 8:08 AM on July 12 [9 favorites]


Just great...I'm catching a cold. It is the. only. reason. for all this sniffling.
posted by datawrangler at 8:15 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


One of my friends from college is in this! I didn't know she would be until I saw her beautiful face and by that point I was sobbing so much that I just started dancing around and crying and omg I love this video
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:16 AM on July 12 [15 favorites]


Eeeeee I got so excited around 3:15 with the masculine-of-center presenting woman. She and Tig Notaro, man, it's nice to see non-femme people being told they're beautiful.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 8:20 AM on July 12 [14 favorites]


The thing I found most powerful was the fact that the women were looking at reflections of themselves while the song was saying "you and I" - I couldn't help but interpret "you and I" as referring to the women and their image, or body-image, or. . . especially given the complex relationships between the women and their image in a lot of these shots. Surprisingly effective.
posted by ianhattwick at 8:25 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]


I'm a cynical person that approaches videos like this with the assumption that the person/persons are aligning themselves with a movement for purely financial gain, rather than for altruistic reasons.

In this instance, I could give a toss ; that was a beautifully-presented piece and I couldn't finish watching it for tears.

#operationgirl seems like a great initiative and I hope it achieves above and beyond its goals.
posted by sektah at 8:27 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]


i'm in exactly the same boat, sektah. i read all the comments here and expected that i'd find it nice, but empty - but damned if i didn't start tearing up very early in and keeping it up the whole way through.

i also really like that he used chrissy teigen in the video. so often it seems like artists, even when they're married to beautiful famous people, get another beautiful (and for guys, often younger) person to play their love interest in videos and i find it nice that in a song with a message like this he bookends the video with his wife.
posted by nadawi at 8:32 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm usually pretty cynical about this kind of schmaltz, but that was more affecting than I expected.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:38 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


John Legend writes some damn good songs. And apparently is a decent human being.

This is cool.
posted by sio42 at 8:42 AM on July 12


If you watch that video on your phone, you end up seeing yourself at the end of the video.
posted by sio42 at 8:47 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


i also really like that he used chrissy teigen in the video. so often it seems like artists, even when they're married to beautiful famous people, get another beautiful (and for guys, often younger) person to play their love interest in videos and i find it nice that in a song with a message like this he bookends the video with his wife.

Sort of peripheral to the OP, but this reminded me that Chrissy Teigen has a good twitter account.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:50 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I was ok until the woman with the horrible mastectomy scars. The look on her face as she takes off her bra was heartbreaking. In our society, so much of a woman's identity is in her breasts. The pain in her eyes was brutal.
posted by evilcupcakes at 8:55 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who doesn't find this video uplifting? I appreciate it's being done for a good cause, but to me people can and should be valued for more than whether anyone finds them "beautiful".

Never mind, I'll show myself out.
posted by Poldo at 8:58 AM on July 12 [9 favorites]


It's about them finding themselves beautiful.

They're all looking at their reflection.
posted by sio42 at 9:02 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]


They're all looking at their reflection.

And the words are about how John Legend didn't need their primping because he already found them beautiful.

I mean, this doesn't bother me a whole lot; the desire for validation for others is not something we're going to be able to stamp out.
posted by kenko at 9:07 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


For me, I could see so many stories in those few glimpses.

I was okay until the little girl with the bow in her hair. There's such a story behind that short, boyish haircut with that pert yellow bow. She looks so pensive, and a little sad, and then later she touches the bow and she smiles and I don't know...I read so much into her small face. Is she a tomboy who pleaded for a boy's haircut and her glam mom relented but forced the little bow in place?

Maybe I WAS that little girl. That's probably why that image makes me cry and write a novella about her in my mind. Maybe at the age of 50, I AM that little girl every time I dress up.

And about the value of beautiful, I think that lies in one's definition of the word, which may be the point of the video.

Being beautiful, to me, is being strong and confident about myself at any given time. It's not about any stereotypes of beauty: glamorous hair, girlish features, flawless makeup or even two perfect breasts.

Being beautiful is feeling good about myself.
posted by kinetic at 9:08 AM on July 12 [8 favorites]


Goddammit this got me.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:13 AM on July 12


Nice, good thing to do. Have to say my fave was the jogger's surreptitious pony tail check in a random wing mirror at 2:18ish.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:13 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I find it more troubling that John Legend's good looking, talented, hard working and ALSO apparently a nice guy that wants to bring joy to people.

There ain't no justice.
posted by DigDoug at 9:14 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


This recent trope of male singers writing songs about how women are/should know they are beautiful is still kind of . . . well.

Don't worry, your fun isn't ruined.
posted by liketitanic at 9:15 AM on July 12 [12 favorites]


Yeah that's a bit weird. But hey, if it works..
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:16 AM on July 12


This recent trope of male singers writing songs about how women are/should know they are beautiful is still kind of . . . well.

I totally get this sentiment, but this one struck me as pretty different from the like One Direction types that are more like, stereotypically beautiful women in sweat pants are still beautiful, which is a different and still sort of insidiously body-shaming message qua "be hot but don't look like you're trying." For me, it's nice to see a little real diversity for a change.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:19 AM on July 12 [13 favorites]


I was okay until the little girl with the bow in her hair. There's such a story behind that short, boyish haircut with that pert yellow bow. She looks so pensive, and a little sad, and then later she touches the bow and she smiles and I don't know...I read so much into her small face. Is she a tomboy who pleaded for a boy's haircut and her glam mom relented but forced the little bow in place?

I thought that might be a trans/gender-nonconforming child who is made happier by the little bow in an otherwise masculine haircut.
posted by jb at 9:30 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]


The text on its own skates periliously close to this; the video is what makes this into something genuinely great rather than some bloke telling women to be more natural.

And having the courage both of the woman showing her mastectomy scars and the video director not censoring, is what makes this uplifting rather than mawkish.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:32 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


to me people can and should be valued for more than whether anyone finds them "beautiful".

I keep thinking this, every time I see a new video or FB post assuring women that they really are beautiful (or at least not as ugly as they think).

But today something about this video made me think a bit more. When I think of the word "beautiful" applied to a woman's appearance, I think about classic proportional features, healthy skin, minimal bodyfat. But if to be ugly means to be invisible, unacceptable, ignored, unworthy - and honestly it does - maybe when John Legend sings that I'm beautiful (and who am I to argue) he's not telling me that my nose is proportionate to my face, maybe he's saying I'm acceptable, I have the right to be visible, I'm worthy, and I don't deserve to be ignored.

Maybe that's a reach.
posted by bunderful at 9:35 AM on July 12 [18 favorites]


I thought that might be a trans/gender-nonconforming child who is made happier by the little bow in an otherwise masculine haircut.

See what I mean? We could write a novel about the people in this video. This makes me happy.
posted by kinetic at 9:36 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


I was okay until the little girl with the bow in her hair. There's such a story behind that short, boyish haircut with that pert yellow bow.

Yeah, all of the women and girls seem to convey so much in their short time on screen that it leaves you dying to know more about their lives before aznd after that moment.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:40 AM on July 12


maybe when John Legend sings that I'm beautiful (and who am I to argue) he's not telling me that my nose is proportionate to my face, maybe he's saying I'm acceptable, I have the right to be visible, I'm worthy, and I don't deserve to be ignored.

No, that's not a reach at all. That's EXACTLY what things like the Dove campaign are saying.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:42 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I thought that might be a trans/gender-nonconforming child who is made happier by the little bow in an otherwise masculine haircut.

I thought it might just be a little kid who liked the bow.
posted by kenko at 9:50 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]




I thought it might just be a little kid who liked the bow.

I admit I've now watched the video five times, pausing it to look at the kid with the bow. The first two shots of her she is clearly unhappy, in the last shot she is poking the bow with her finger and it looks like the corners of her mouth are turning up, maybe into a smile.

I am now going to get off the computer, strap my kayak to the roof of my car, and go play in nature.

Damn you, John Legend. Damn you.
posted by kinetic at 10:05 AM on July 12


I thought it might just be a little kid who liked the bow.

I guess we see what our experiences or knowledge in general is most aligned to. I imagined her like me. If I'd had a bow on at that age - if I'd had a bow on today - I'd look pensively in the mirror too, wondering if I could let myself out of the house wearing it. Am I pretty enough to look feminine, to look like I'm trying? Or does it look like a flower on a steaming pile of dung?

While the text of the song itself isn't remarkable (to me) - because thanks I really needed to know that I'm acceptable to men - I think it's the video and the fact that it features women and girls of all shapes and sizes and stories looking at themselves that makes it noteworthy. I wouldn't listen to the song on its own but it's still a great video.
posted by undue influence at 10:24 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Let's celebrate beauty and not be creepy about it at all.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:37 AM on July 12


John Legend makes a mean [easy] seriously delish mac n' cheese. Recommend.
posted by atomicstone at 10:46 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I began and stayed cynical about this. I don't second guess his motives or the kind of person he is, and apparently this moves people in a positive way, which I am happy about. But:

1. He begins and ends with the conventional beauty. It's his wife, so much better than a random beauty, but still -- everyone else finishes second to his one and only girl, who also happens to be the one most ratified by society's preexisting conventions of beauty.

2. Those who participate in this video obviously cast their own votes. I do not in any way want to second-guess them or rain on their parades. But to me, there's something off-putting about a process that directly or indirectly pitches selection of individuals based on whether they are *unconventional* choices . . . I mean, great that it tells diverse people that they are beautiful, but boo that it conveys to them and those resembling them (in what is inevitably kind of a self-satisfied way) that these are choices against the mainstream.

Admittedly, the song doesn't do anything for me, but I would almost rather it made its pitch without a video.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:02 AM on July 12


I thought it might just be a little kid who liked the bow.

I had a short, boyish haircut when I was little. I didn't like it, and I wanted "girl" hair like everyone else. In preschool I'd sometimes try to touch the other girls' hair, and predictably they'd get mad at me. My parents wouldn't let me grow my hair out, though, because I was always doing dumb things like putting silly putty in it. So I felt like my hair was a big sign of my dorkiness and inability to fit in. But I had a lot of little barrettes, which were the only girly thing I could do with my hair, and I loved them, and I'd play with them even when I wasn't wearing them.

I guess we all have some variant of the little kid with the bow in us somewhere?
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:30 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]


The Knife did this too.
posted by dekathelon at 12:20 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


I made a bet with myself that someone would crap on this video.

Metafilter you never fail me.
posted by kuroikenshi at 12:41 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


I think it's utter glurge. I find the song epically uninteresting and the "message" to be simplistic and patronising. Is having a different opinion than the majority "crapping" on the video? If so, guilty as charged, I guess.
posted by cilantro at 1:01 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Clyde Mnestra, not all of the folks in the video were "unconventionally" beautiful, even apart from Chrissy Teigen. We all know that even conventionally beautiful women often doubt whether they are beautiful enough ... so I think the song/video is about *all* of us, not just reassuring the "ugly ducklings" (one of which I assuredly am).

The woman with the mastectomy scars killed me -- and then later, the look on her face when she caught herself looking in the mirror? transcendent, I thought ...

The confidence and satisfaction with oneself, self-acceptance (as others have noted, many of the key images are simply women looking at themselves) and love of others ... I think that's the beauty that's getting lifted up here.

Yes, I simply must get to dusting this room. Goodness!
posted by allthinky at 1:21 PM on July 12


Man, it made me cry too, but for such different reasons from everyone else on this thread. It just made me so sad thinking of how hard all women work to try to look good and how painful it can be for people to look in the mirror. I spent full years in high school avoiding reflective surfaces because I found my face so depressing to look at. As I watched I knew, for a fact, that most of them at least occasionally doubt that they're attractive to look at...and probably a few of them almost never think it.

I just wish I were bringing up my daughter in a world where things were different for girls, you know? I don't know. I'm kind of an emotional mess today and was thinking maybe this would help me feel better but instead it made me depressed in just an entirely different direction.
posted by town of cats at 1:32 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I have no problem with the video, but am I at least allowed to crap on the song? Because the last thing the world needed in 2014 was a rewrite of fucking Wonderful Tonight.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:38 PM on July 12


here's another tearjerker yet this one is sung by a woman - Colbie Caillat. her desire for this song came from how much she feels pressured to do herself up for public appearances vs. what she really wants to look like, so she un-photoshops herself for this video.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 1:51 PM on July 12 [8 favorites]


It just made me so sad thinking of how hard all women work to try to look good and how painful it can be for people to look in the mirror. I spent full years in high school avoiding reflective surfaces because I found my face so depressing to look at.

i had severe acne from ages 11-19. talk about never wanting to look in the mirror... FOR YEARS. i hid behind my hair and layers of makeup. hardly any photographic evidence exists of me during that time period, and i'm kinda sad about that. the day my doctor suggested we do something about it was the day i saw a tiny ray of hope. it was just a skin disease, and yet it made me timid and weak for so long. all because of what i saw in the mirror was not what i knew that others wanted, and i never heard anything good otherwise.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 2:01 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


The thing is, all this "You are beautiful!!" stuff is always, always aimed at women, never men. Which just emphasizes that women are expected to be beautiful, and men are not. Well, maybe this just isn't for me--my reaction to being told that I'm beautiful is to feel condescended to. Because I'm not beautiful. And that's okay. We don't all have to be beautiful, any more than we all have to be geniuses, or Olympic-level athletes.
posted by LindsayIrene at 2:30 PM on July 12 [11 favorites]


Yeah, so this just came on in a rotation, and it hardened my heart still further. Far more progressive than the average lyric or video, I grant you, but a little short of nobility incarnate.

You fix your make up, just so
Guess you don't know, that your beautiful
Try on every dress that you own
You were fine in my eyes, a half hour ago
If your mirror won't make it any clearer I'll
Be the one to let you know
Out of all the girls
You my one and only girl
Ain't nobody in the world tonight

Trans: "You started out great, so all the makeup has only a marginal effect. You're a natural beauty! The mirror could have made apparent my complete devotion to you. (Hint: it stems from your beauty.)"

You stop the room when we walk in
Spotlights on everybody staring
Tell all of these boys, they wasting their time
Stop standing in line, cause your all mine


Trans: "Naturally, too, your value is vindicated by how all the other dudes react. But back off, other dudes, this particularly fine woman is all mine."

"Oh, BTW, watch my video: don't get me wrong, there's beauty in all the rest of you too, and I'm going to feature lots of different people so everyone can be assured on that score, and imagine someone singing this about them too. While occasionally standing in line elsewhere."

P.S. Give me My Funny Valentine any day of the week.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:03 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


yet this one is sung by a woman - Colbie Caillat.
Ah yes, the woman who resorts to A. A. Milne-worthy euphemisms for the vaginal orgasm. I hope she put her inner goddess on a bland food diet...
posted by pxe2000 at 4:51 PM on July 12


but a little short of nobility incarnate.

Not a bad place to end up, tbh.
posted by kenko at 5:05 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Both videos made me cry and shitting on them won't take that away and I am pretty too dang it
posted by waraw at 5:59 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


The mainstream idea of how to combat the patriarchy is to tell ALL women they are beautiful rather than deconstruct the value / desirability of beauty in itself. I'm with the crappers.

Boring music and hegemony reinforcing video.
posted by mary8nne at 11:53 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


LindsayIrene, thank you for saying that. That's how I feel anytime somebody says something evaluative about my appearance. Like, who fucking cares? I am not on this earth to be aesthetically pleasing: it's not my job or my purpose and I don't want to be judged based on it. And someone expressing their opinion of how I look -- it's so breathtakingly presumptuous. Like, I will sometimes *think* to myself, "oh X is gorgeous" or "Y has a great body" or whatever, but I don't get confused into believing they're sitting around waiting to be validated by my very important opinion.
posted by Susan PG at 3:22 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


I am not on this earth to be aesthetically pleasing: it's not my job or my purpose and I don't want to be judged based on it. And someone expressing their opinion of how I look -- it's so breathtakingly presumptuous.

This is where our definitions of beautiful come into play. When I think beautiful, I think of people who are caring and thoughtful and healthy, I don't think of great bodies and makeup and people trying to be aesthetically pleasing.

So this message of stop looking at yourself and judging yourself because the mere fact that you exist and breathe and partake in the world is a thing of beauty, I can accept this message in a pretty eh song because it would be nice for more people to just feel good about being alive.

Stop with the clothes and the hair and the makeup and the self-loathing already. You're wonderful. I don't see the value in crapping on that message.
posted by kinetic at 5:23 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


I agree with dropping the whole idea that women should perceive themselves as beautiful - what's wrong with just being strong, or smart, or dignified, or funny-looking? (as men are allowed to be)

And the song lyrics are not very progressive.

But I did really like how they had the boxer and her broken nose - and she was "beautiful" (aka worthy, which is really what people mean) because she was strong. She wasn't beautiful despite the blood and scars, she was cool because of them.
posted by jb at 5:24 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


When I think beautiful, I think of people who are caring and thoughtful and healthy

Thing is, though, these messages are not about people in general. They are always about women. The word beautiful is still being used solely about women, even when it supposedly isn't about physical beauty. Given the baggage that the word has for women, ehhh.

If a woman is kind, call her kind. If she's generous, call her generous. If she's brave, call her brave. If she's strong, call her strong. Just calling her beautiful draws attention to her looks, whether you mean to or not.
posted by LindsayIrene at 6:33 AM on July 13 [6 favorites]


The word beautiful is still being used solely about women, even when it supposedly isn't about physical beauty.

I'm not trying to be fighty. But this absolutely isn't true in my world.

I've seen babies, children and men referred to as beautiful.

Friends have beautiful families because they're caring and fun.
The Dalai Lama is a beautiful man because he radiates kind thoughts and actions.
One of my students wrote a beautiful essay because he really drove home some excellent points.

To me, this is the POINT of the song and the video. Beautiful has nothing/zero/zip/nada to do with how a person looks. And this is true in my world.

If he wrote the exact same song and exact same video and used the word, "pretty," I'd agree with you. But he doesn't.
posted by kinetic at 7:13 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


I get what you're saying, kinetic. But there are no songs telling men that they're beautiful. I'm trying to imagine the John Legend song and video gender-swapped.

In my day-to-day experience, when I see/hear 'beautiful' used to describe an adult human, it's a woman, not a man. For example, there's a local man who has a daily habit of approaching one woman he doesn't know and telling her that she's beautiful. Because, he says, every woman needs to be told that she's beautiful. If I post a photo of myself on Facebook, my FB friends feel the need to tell me I'm beautiful (even though I am not). For me, it's a very loaded and gendered word.
posted by LindsayIrene at 8:17 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine the John Legend song and video gender-swapped.

That I would LOVE To see.
posted by bunderful at 9:00 AM on July 13


I'm trying to imagine the John Legend song and video gender-swapped.

if I had even the vaguest and rawest skills in this direction I would proceed with this project immediately.
posted by KathrynT at 9:15 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


How about a video that's just women walking past mirrors and not giving a fuck.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:05 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


If I post a photo of myself on Facebook, my FB friends feel the need to tell me I'm beautiful (even though I am not).

Maybe your friends have different aesthetic tastes than you do, and actually consider you beautiful, even though you don't? Is it so hard to give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume they're lying to you?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:19 PM on July 13


when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at
you
will want to grab her by her shoulders
look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job

both will feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job


-Caitlyn Siehl
posted by domo at 1:37 PM on July 13 [18 favorites]


> Maybe your friends have different aesthetic tastes than you do, and actually consider you beautiful, even though you don't

Yabbut why does anyone have to bring it up? Why is it presumed that's something all women want to hear?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:01 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


This is an example of the perfect being the enemy of, well, reality.

Some people, here and elsewhere, deride the song and video for (not) being a number of things. But there is no song or video to be created by the god(s) above/below/within that can capture and address all the issues that face the world of women when it comes to beauty, self-worth, confidence, feeling loved, feeling content, and anything/everything else that this song could mean to someone.

It's just one song, a single pop R&B song, just over 4 minutes and 270 words long. Of course it can't be everything to everyone, but if it speaks to some people and makes them feel better, it's a great song. (Well, as long as it doesn't incite violence, because then we might be at a net loss, but that's not this song.)

Right now, I'm tearing up after watching the video for the first time? I honestly didn't hear much of the song, I was paying more attention to the ladies, young and old, in the video, and their honest (seeming) smiles after their earlier emotions brought me to tears. For me, the song could have been instrumental, and it would have been enough to move me, though I appreciate the general gist of the lyrics (I agree, they're nothing amazing, and I can see how it could be interpreted with a lesser value than face value of the words), but it's Just. One. Song.

Of course, "beauty" is a very weighted word, especially for women. That won't change with a single song, or a single fundraising or awareness raising campaign. But any change to making more people feel that they can be or that they are beautiful is great.

In the end, don't let nobody get you down (it's repetitive house music with double negatives in the lyrics, but I didn't write the song, and it came into my head after reading this thread - it's one of my go-to happy place songs).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:45 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


For all those posters talking about this not being progressive because it's aimed exclusively at women, that it's only women's beauty that is discussed, that the genders should be swapped, etc...

Seriously? How many boys do we tie up in knots about their looks? Does it even get mentioned? My sons have never had their value judged by their looks, by themselves or by others. They don't care, and others don't care. But my friends and their girls get it constantly.

Perhaps the equivalent for boys/men would be strength, and someone could do a nice video about how you can be strong even if you're physically frail. And then the detractors here could go crap on that, too, because you really can't help yourselves.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:40 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the equivalent for boys/men would be strength, and someone could do a nice video about how you can be strong even if you're physically frail. And then the detractors here could go crap on that, too, because you really can't help yourselves.

Oh, come on, now. First of all, can't hardly say as the strength criterion is so pervasive and damaging.

Anyway, that's not my biggest beef with the video. Imagine your video showing your singer with, say, Channing Tatum or some other strong-looking beefcake. Then show a bunch of folks, including some scrawny dudes like me, and make them look real sympathetic-like, so their true nobility shines through. Then have singer and Channing traipse off. Oh yeah, and the song ought to talk a bit about dead lifts, and who wins the gold. Yes, then I'd also be slow to celebrate it, but can't imagine many would bring it up in the first place, because crumbs from the table. . .

I guess I balk when inclusion and diversity look more like tokenism, but I am genuinely glad that you and others like the video. I see it as a matter of taste, and wouldn't claim that it's doing harm.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:00 PM on July 13


First of all, can't hardly say as the strength criterion is so pervasive and damaging.

Wow, didn't even have to wait for the video for someone to crap on it.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:27 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


nope, fuck strength, wanna be pretty
posted by waraw at 9:25 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I think it's pretty rare that someone won't feel judged for their appearance at some point in their lives, but comparing the judgements placed on women versus men is women is so very unbalanced, with women being judged on looks at just about all times, at just about all points in their lives, from every imaginable angle.

Sure, as a guy, I might feel self conscious when buying underwear and comparing my lumpy body to the hyper-defined man modeling the underwear I could buy, and maybe the gym is imposing because of people there who know what they're doing, but I can get up in the morning and comb my hair and I'm good to go. I'll shave if I'm a bit too scruffy, and I might fuss over my wardrobe choice for a while, but it's all pretty simple, and I don't feel like I'm being judged on my way to work. I don't have to look beautiful, I get by with being whatever I am.

This is not the case for many/most women, thus the song.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on July 14




>> Maybe your friends have different aesthetic tastes than you do, and actually consider you beautiful, even though you don't

>Yabbut why does anyone have to bring it up? Why is it presumed that's something all women want to hear?


I realize what happens when one assumes, but I was assuming that that's not all she ever hears from them.

Quite often, there's not much else to say about a picture beyond what it looks like, so that's the discussion a picture of LindsayIrene sparks among her friends.

If she posted a comment about what she did that day, the discussion would probably be more about what she did that day and not about and not about what they thought of a picture of her.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:08 AM on July 15


These kind of sentiments about beauty really only act on a linguistic level - if this actually succeeds in deflating the term "beautiful" such that it can reasonably commonly be applied to all women then some new term will simply arise like say.. "sublime" that will replace it and apply to physical ideals of perfection.

Its meaningless dribble.
posted by mary8nne at 10:03 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


liketitanic: Let’s Stop Singing Songs About Women Who Don’t Know They’re Beautiful @ buzzfeed.
Why this fascination with the woman who doesn’t know she’s beautiful, the idealization of low self-esteem? It orients the singer as a savior — the sensitive soul whom this girl, who has been slaving away day in and day out in front of a mirror that just won’t reveal the beauty she longs to see, desperately requires. These aren’t songs for young men, who, theoretically, could listen and reconsider their standards of female beauty. These are songs for girls who get the message that insecurity has romantic value, if only because it’s the necessary setup to the grand moment in which they find the boys who — god bless them! — finally pull them out of it.
Well put. John Legend's video was better than his song, by leagues.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:20 AM on July 17


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