Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful” delivered a message of self-acceptance for anyone who struggled being comfortable with their true identity. I chose this song because it speaks to me. I am a strong advocate for equal treatment among the entire population. When Aguilera’s song was released in 2002 the world was a very different place than it is today. Society was not as accepting of people who diverged from the norms of society. I can vividly remember sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car at a young age hearing this song on the radio and being deluged with self-confidence as a I repeated the lyrics. Though I did not struggle with all of the issues this song was portraying such as homosexuality and gender identity, being a young girl, this song helped with my perception of my self-image. Some might consider this song as a lyrical “pick-me-up”, because as the lyrics are being recited one cannot help but be inundate.
During the time of this songs release society was not as accepting of the LGBT community. In 2002 society was not as diverse as it is today, for example people whom diverged were criticized and pestered by the government as well as other people in our society. An example of how some states viewed homosexuality around the time of this songs release was in June of 2003 when the supreme court struck down the “Homosexual conduct” law which decriminalized same-sex sexual conduct with their opinion in Lawrence v. Texas.
The case involved two men from Huston Texas whom asked the Supreme Court to look over the ‘Homosexual Conduct’ law in Texas and declare it as unconstitutional of Texas to enforce the law. The law prohibits sexual relations, including oral and anal sex, between acquiescing adults of the same sex. This law singled out same-sex couples, because the law does not apply to heterosexual couples. The men were convicted in Texas after being arrested for having sex in one of the men’s private homes. This ruling by the supreme court to strike down the act led to the reversing of multiple states sodomy laws.
Another milestone for the LGBT community was the first legal same-sex marriage in the United States on May 17, 2004 in Massachusetts. Though these two instances were major steps forward for the LBGT community there were many more obstacles that they were going to have to overcome before they were going to be accepted into society, at least as widely as they are accepted in 2018. Aguilera’s song spoke to the community by giving them a voice threw her own. During this difficult time for those who were divergent of social normality this song was an advocate for self-acceptance.
“Don’t look at me” is the first line of Aguilera’s song, this lyric that Aguilera whispers creates an ashamed vibe for the song, also this lyric is spoken without any musical instrumentation. The first lyric of the song gives the audience a misconception about the meaning of the song, initially making the audience feel as if the song is going to be about shame and depression. This idea given to the audience in the initial lyric is completely wrong, this is an inspirational song written to help anyone that doesn’t feel socially accepted. In the first actual verse of the song, Aguilera is singing about herself. The song starts out with her singing, “Every day is so wonderful/ Then suddenly/ It’s hard to breathe.”
This initial verse is important for the rest of the song, because it informs the audience that Aguilera is not depressed that her days start out beautiful, however eventually the beautiful wears off and she realizes that that life is not always so beautiful, then the weight of sorrow makes it “hard to breath”. In the next lines of the song she says, “Now and then I get insecure/ From all the pain” Everybody, no matter how confident they are, feels insecure sometimes. For Aguilera, it must happen more days than not. The following line is, “I’m so ashamed.” This line sums up what Aguilera’s been singing the entire verse. She feels ashamed because she views herself as different, but she doesn’t understand that its differences that make people unique.
In the first Chorus Aguilera continues singing about herself. The first lines of the chorus are “I am beautiful.” This contradicts Aguilera’s initial statements, because there she was telling about her insecurities and how she is ashamed, but now she is singing that she is beautiful. Aguilera goes onto sing “No matter what they say/ Words can’t bring me down.” Aguilera is stating that regardless of what other people say, no matter how many times she is put down, she’s not going to give up. She continues with “I am beautiful/ In every single way/ Yes words can’t bring me down/ Oh no.” She reiterates that words won’t hurt her; people can say whatever they want. She may feel insecure, but words will never cause her to break. It again shows her sense of strength.
Finally, Christina says “So don’t you bring me down today.” This is acting like a warning for anyone else that wants to attempt to bring her down. Aguilera switches the song now from talking about herself to now talking about “you”. The next lines say” To all your friends you’re delirious/So consumed/in all your doom, ooh/Trying hard to fill the emptiness/The pieces gone/Left the puzzle undone/Ain’t that the way it is/You are beautiful/No matter what they say/Words can’t bring you down/Oh no/You are beautiful/in every single way/Yes words can’t bring you down” Here Aguilera is trying to help the audience feel as accepted, she started the song talking about her own battle with insecurities and now is targeting the audience’s insecurities.
The rest of this song turns into a “we” Aguilera connects herself with the audience, reciting the words, “we are beautiful/ in every single way” she is doing this to try and make the audience feel that they are not alone. This song deals with many social problems such as homosexuality, gender identity, and self-image, the lyrical content of the song connected with the image portrayed in the video made a strong social stance these problems. The music video that Aguilera released with the song shows a transgender, a homosexual couple being intimate, as well anorexia and obesity. The music video was very scandalous when released in 2002 because of societies slim acceptance of the LGBT community and their portrayal of what is beautiful.
The song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera is an inspirational song. The song took a strong social stance on many problems that the people of our society faced. I am sure that this song inspired many people to be their true selves and gave them the confidence to do so happily. I chose this song because even today I can listen to this and it makes me feel beautiful. Aguilera’s song was a song of pride for a community that needed to feel accepted. Aguilera’s song spoke to the people of our society by giving them a voice threw her own. During this difficult time for those who were divergent of social normality this song was an advocate for self-acceptance and self-love.