Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"You don't know you're beautiful"

I think this song is adorable.

"What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction

But, now that I'm a feminist, I noticed a few things that could be interpreted as sending the wrong messages.  So let's take a look at the lyrics and see.

"You're insecure / Don't know what for"- Is it saying that women who have issues with how they perceive their own bodies should just get over it?  The whole "media tells women they're not good enough because they don't look like this" is all in your head?

I feel like, no.  He's just saying it doesn't make sense to him that she would be insecure.  No deep statements about culture and standards etc etc.  It's a compliment.

"Don't need make-up / To cover up / Being the way that you are is enough"- Is it saying that women shouldn't wear make-up, that they do it because they're insecure and they want attention from guys?

No, my answer to this one is no.  He just thinks she looks fine without make-up.  That's all.  He's not saying "you're wrong to be using make-up.  Oh, and I have the right to dictate what you should look like."

"You don't know you're beautiful / ... That's what makes you beautiful."- Is he saying he likes women that are insecure, and that confidence is unattractive?

No... you know how when you like someone, all of their little mannerisms are suddenly awesome to you?  Sounds like he really likes her, so whatever she does is cute.  If she acted more confident, he'd probably think that was cute too.

Basically the song is about how this boy feels like this girl is really awesome and beautiful.  It's just saying how he feels.  If it was trying to say "here, let me solve the body-image problem that's everywhere in our culture: You're beautiful.  Okay, so shut up about that insecurity stuff now" then we'd have problems.

If it was supposed to be directed at all girls instead of just one girl, then we might have problems.

There are a lot of boys out there that think girls are beautiful, and they should totally be allowed to say that.  ^_^  I don't expect them to understand the nuances of body-image problems that exist in our culture- so they better not think they can solve it.  (For example: Women care about their appearance for other reasons besides being attractive to men.)

But yeah, I don't think there are any problematic messages in this song.  I actually love this song and think it's adorable.  (Which is saying a lot, coming from me, because I have issues with how romance is portrayed in almost all popular songs.)  And the reason I like it is I want a cute boy to tell me I'm beautiful.  I could have said something that sounded more profound and philosophical, but nope, that's the reason I like it.  Psychoanalyze me if you like.

That's all I have to say.  If you were hoping for more of a rant, don't worry, in the future I'll totally be posting stuff about the bad messages about romance in songs, Disney movies, media, etc.


  1. I agree with the entire thing, down to why you love it. Me too....and it's such a fun tune. "But, now that I'm a feminist," haha! I think that to myself a lot.

    1. Thanks! I think sometimes people see sexism that isn't there- but also sometimes I get angry about things that everyone else thinks are fine. And I hope that when that happens, I can put into words why I think it's sexist/offensive.