Singer had twins a month ago. Announced it on Instagram with an over stylised image (#filter). World goes crazy.
If you don't know who I'm talking about then you must actually live under a rock. Today, Beyoncé presented her month old twins Rumi and Sir Carter Carter(?) to the world via the social network platform Instagram with a Botticelli inspired photograph. An art historian has commented that, once compared to her pregnancy announcement image, Beyoncé "emerges as a pure beacon of strength, and there is a clear emphasis on progression." While it is a wonderful image, the first thing that caught my eye was how incredibly flat her stomach appeared one month on from giving birth to twins. What a contrasting image to that of the Duchess of Cambridge leaving the hospital and proudly showing off her post-baby bump.
Beyoncé's image has been confusing recently. On the one hand she appears human, sharing emotional insight she never has before in the lyrics to the album Lemonade, and on the other she presents herself super-human, never discussing the private life alluded to in those lyrics and grandiose iconography in her photoshoots. There has also been a lot of discussion over whether her actions and comments are feminist or not. But this isn't a comment on feminism, rather on perplexing branding. The clearly photoshopped, post-pregnancy stomach leaves a feeling of unease in my no-where-near as flat stomach. Should a woman epitomising strength and progression be so obviously photoshopping?
Maybe I'm just making a tenuous comment about branding as an excuse to write about Beyoncé (because... well... #QueenBey) but I'm hoping "Brand Beyoncé" soon becomes as streamlined as her tum...
It matters because this image is not of a woman celebrating the birth of two new lives. It is a celebration of beauty and physical perfection – the very things you say a woman should not be defined by. You are an icon of our time and your influence is immense, not only on your legions of fans, but also on the media. When you comment people listen, and this seems like such a wasted opportunity to continue your message of female empowerment. By releasing an image so clearly set up to display the apparent lack of effect that this latest pregnancy has had on your body, you have once again put the spotlight firmly on the image of a perfect appearance above all else, and in doing so, you have damaged us all.