Beautiful Little Fools - Jorja Smith
“Where is the feminine race?
Where are these so-called independent women?
Who pick up their flaws
And let the world in
Where are these girls?
Beautiful little fools
That’s what us girls are destined for
Beautiful little fools
Born to be adored
Most of these girls pick up her brush
They might not like art, but their face is a canvas
Designing something that is not their reflection
Becoming a beautiful little Hollywood perception.”
Where's the Meaning?
The #MeToo Movement shed light on entrenched and long-lasting behaviors related to genders, harassment and sexual assaults that had still not attracted the attention it deserved despite their its recurrence and importance. Not only did #MeToo help in changing behaviors and carrying out legal consequences to unlawful practices in the workplace as well as in the public sphere, it also fed the discussion about representation of women in Hollywood and more broadly in the media industry. Indeed, the way media portrays women to the broader public is important because it creates and ingrains stereotypes that influence the way social dynamics play out in various environments e.g. the workplace, bars, public transportation etc.
Jorja Smith’s song, "Beautiful Little Fools" depicts the way today’s media strongly affects girls and women’s perception of themselves. Unattainable beauty standards are constantly shown on television, ads, and social media, thus sustaining a vicious cycle of unhealthy and superficial representation.
"Beautiful Little Fools" sheds light on the fact that many girls spend a lot of time altering their appearance in order to fit into society’s standards. By depicting the activity, Jorja opens up the practice to criticism, suggesting that whether a woman chooses to wear make-up or not is up to her and does not determine who she is as a person in any way. This statement runs counter to the influence that prominent industries, such as cosmetic, fashion and media, continue to play in exemplifying how women will present and define themselves. From a young age, women are taught to adjust their appearance to cater to societally established standards of beauty, a reality that current gender equality movements seek to disrupt. Indeed, equality of opportunities, freedom of choice and expression, are achieved through society’s willingness to accept everyone’s difference and singularity. Being a woman should not influence one’s path and should not determine the way one will be perceived by others.
Moreover, Jorja Smith also stresses how difficult it is to become an independent woman in a world that constantly tells women what to do and how to behave. Hence, the ubiquity of ads and media in today’s world deeply influences representation and further impacts how a woman will define herself. By calling women “beautiful little fools”, Jorja points out how they are perpetually reduced to their appearance, are considered inherently inferior to men, and are portrayed as individuals lacking common sense and intelligence. In order to counter these everlasting and wrong depictions of women, representation is key and will set the path for women to achieve their dreams and feel confident in their own choices, whether they want to become a pilot, an engineer, a nurse or a professional athlete.
Are governments responsible for enacting laws that will prevent private companies from stereotyping women in their advertisements?
To what extent can we control the content of advertisements and media without falling into censure?
To what extent can media help combat stereotypes and celebrate originality and difference?
What other industries participate in controlling women’s image and reducing them to certain stereotypes?
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