The first option I am considering for this project is “Pretty Hurts” by Beyonce. The song is a take on body image and body standards set for girls and women by the media. It refers specifically to pageants, but I think it is about more than that. I am very passionate about everything regarding feminism, women’s rights, body image, etc. and that is what attracts me to this song right away. While I have liked this song for a long time, I have chosen to consider it for more than that reason. The song is incredibly powerful, especially coming from an artist that is so beautiful. To me, that shows that everyone, no matter how they are perceived by other people, can have struggles with body image. I also love that the song is so raw and vulnerable. The song itself may be fairly straightforward in terms of message, but I also think there is a lot of substance to work with and unpack within the lyrics, music, and video. It is a protest song because Beyonce is clearly trying to draw attention to this issue and share her own experience with it. The experience of everyday women, but especially those in the public eye can be incredibly cruel. This is not to say men do not suffer from these issues, but the criticism is not the same. I could look into numerous examples of tabloids attacking women about their appearances and then also research how body image and mental health are related today. This could then lead me to social media, especially Instagram since they were sued recently over body image issues, and how those platforms take a toll on mental health in women specifically. I could even look into statistics like the increase in plastic surgeries and the percentage of women in America and globally that suffer from eating disorders. I think body image issues in this day and age are extremely heightened due to social media, so since this song is so recent, it is definitely a reflection of that. This song is extremely important to me as someone who has close friends who have suffered with body dysmorphia and eating disorders and as someone who has body image issues. This is so crucial to bring attention to because almost every woman I know struggles with body image to some extent. It makes me so incredibly sad to live in a world where so many women feel as though they are not good enough and do not feel comfortable in heir own skin. Luckily, we have artists who are so openly confident and body positive to turn the tides, but we have a long way to go especially when you can scroll through Instagram and TikTok and be brought down by women who fit the conventional beauty standards.




The second song I am considering for my project is “I’m not Racist” Joyner Lucas. I actually just found this song by a recommendation when telling a friend about the project. Immediately, I knew it was a good option. First of all, the song has a very unique structure. He raps the whole thing, but the first verse is from the perspective of a far-right Trump supporter and the second verse is from Lucas’s point of view. The lyrics are extremely powerful, but I also watched the video and while it is simplistic, it is powerful as well. I am also interested because racial inequality is a very important issue to me. I was raised very sheltered from racial and class issues as I lived in a predominantly white area and have always gone to predominantly white schools, but once I got to high school I was able to expand my knowledge of the world a lot. Ever since Donald Trump was elected, I have tried to educate myself more on the history of systemic racism and why things are the way they are today. I have gotten in plenty of tense discussions regarding ignorance and white privilege which has forced me to reevaluate some relationships. I want to pursue this song because it will allow me to learn more and understand my privilege better. This song came out in 2017, about a year after Donald Trump’s election. Obviously, tensions were high between white people and people of color in America. I could research the demographic of Trump supporters and break down who his voters were. Furthermore, this song touches on a vast array of different issues regarding race and that would allow for research regarding redlining, the historical context of the N-word, unemployment and racism during job searches, statistics on police brutality, numerous examples of police brutality, gun violence, and Eminem’s BET performance and how it was received. While I was planning on focusing on a different social issue for this project, this song stood out to me too much not to consider it. Even though we spend a lot of time working with racial injustice in class, it is sadly such an important issue to talk about today because of how prominent it still is in America today, so I do not feel like it’s a problem.




I am pretty confident in my ability to complete this assignment, however I do have a few concerns. First, I worry that “Pretty Hurts” may be too obvious. While there is a lot to talk about, the concept and meaning behind the song is easy to understand. Furthermore, I worry that “I’m Not Racist” may have too many ideas inside it. It all focuses on racism, but it touches on several different racial issues like poverty, gun violence, and unemployment just to name a few.


Jacqueline Ward