Analysis Of Beyonce’ Song ‘Pretty Hurts’

Just imagine it. The pain of slowly dying, fear of food eating you, slowly sinking into madness. Your past fulfilled life is all that remains, your skin and bones are shrill. Unfortunately, up to 16% Australians suffer from eating disorders. This topic is covered in the song “Pretty Hurts”, which Beyonce co-wrote in 2013. It provides insight into modern social/cultural norms as well as mental illness.

Beyonce uses a range of language elements and a lot of impeccable vocabulary to communicate her message. Strong, evocative language like “It’s not the soul that requires surgery” or “Ain’t got no doctor nor pill that can take away the pain.” This conveys the emotional suffering of mental illness to the audience and influences them. Engaging vocabulary like “Masquerade”, “Pageant” makes the message more powerful and emotional.

The chorus and verse hooks are what influence audiences. The Bridge and outro use repetition to reinforce the message and reinforce the emotions. These language devices, when used with the song’s structure, effectively conveyed ideas and emotions.

The song is sung in vocals with a few hip-hop instrumentals that enhance the message. The chorus focuses mainly on the beauty standards and dissatisfaction with the singer’s body. We are also confronted by the chorus, which explains how society is obsessed with beauty through the phrase “perfectionis the disease of a country” and the pre chorus repeating “Without fall down”, implicitly stating that this is at cost of mental health.

Beyonce speaks out about the stereotypical image of a female in media. She gives us examples such as “flat stomach […] TV says larger is better” and “Thinner is best”. These stereotypes are exposed in a way that highlights the issues with body image. This is where the singer is criticized. She explains that she is suffering from depression due to eating disorders. The bridge closes with the last line, “left with [the mirrors] and shards[of a beautiful boy”, which signifies that she’s unhappy with her body. Mirrors that are broken represent her low self esteem.

“Pretty Hurts”, a song that emphasizes emotion and uses auditory elements throughout, employs a variety of elements to bring out the emotion. To emphasize the message of mental health, the lyrics are passionately sung. The song begins with a dark piano ostinato that quickly becomes more uplifting as the song progresses. The music background is sparse. However, it’s been used enough to create an energy-filled feel that encourages people into taking action on a taboo subject.

According to me, the song’s visual appeal is very powerful in enticing people to take action against eating disorders and mental illness.

The song’s social messages are still relevant today as eating disorders become more prevalent. Anorexia Nervosa which is common among young women and people who work in beauty, athletics and entertainment professions, can be fatal. Worst yet, many sufferers are unaware they have a problem. When it is discovered, it is usually too late.

As society becomes more digital and socially conscious, it is important to remember that we were all born in this body.

I think I look good enough. I don’t believe my body is as handsome as the designer body hanky petty that has embedded it.

s self into modern society. Keep in mind the old saying, “Don’t confuse my weakness with intelligence.” You can’t make me look fat or have a large nose. But, I don’t believe anyone is claiming that my ugliness is knowledge.


  • adamlewis

    Adam Lewis is a 34-year-old school teacher and blogger who focuses on education. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Lewis has been teaching since 2004 and has taught in both public and private schools. He is currently a teacher at a private Christian school in Florida.