What should artists release to the media?
In a recent article in The New York Times, “Beyoncé 3.0: The Maternal Ideal“, suggests that despite a positive message (“Pregnant is beautiful. It should be worshiped.”) Beyoncé’s depiction of pregnancy in the media doesn’t acknowledge that pregnancy is “also messy, sometimes uncomfortable and just another fact of life. And in her extended fetishization of her own physical evolution, Beyoncé has not allowed for any of that.”
When did depicting “messy” realities become a mandate for artistic expression? While many artists choose to focus on life’s harsh realities, there are just as many that opt to depict idealized fantasies. While this may fetishize the subject, it doesn’t make the art any less valid. Often our cultural icons become icons as a result of the strength and simplicity of their message, not because they accurately represent the complexity that is inherent in life.
Despite being a celebrity, Beyoncé as an artist has the right to choose how she represents her own personal experience, or even pregnancy in general. She doesn’t owe humanity a glimpse into her swollen ankles.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Communication or Shepherd University.