Picture Perfect: Why Is It A Problem If Beyonce Wants To Control Her Image?
Over the past few years, we have been allowed to enter the Queen Bey’s Hive. Through Beyoncé’s social media accounts, we are able to scroll through her most priceless moments with family, stunning performances, and selfies. Like all of us, Beyoncé controls how she wants to appear to her audience. Therefore, when Beyoncé banned independent photographers from her Mrs. Carter tour, I didn’t understand why people began to ask: “Is Beyoncé not secure in the skin she’s in?” When what we should be asking ourselves is: As consumers (and human beings), do we allow others the same non-judgmental agency when controlling their Internet personas?
“Beyoncé may run the world, but the diva is going to extremes to have some serious control over her internet personification. The decision was indubitably prompted by this year’s Super Bowl fiasco, after Buzzfeed published unflattering photos that propelled Beyoncé’s publicist to issue an emailed request for removal. Instead of taking the pictures down or replacing them, the site reposted the images and the email with the headline: “The ‘Unflattering’ Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You to See.” Visitors of Buzzfeed are familiar with the comedic and playful tone to the popular site, but Bey wasn’t laughing.”
Yes, people are interested in a Beyoncé who does not “wall” herself in, at her convenience. We want to see those stank-faces while she is dancing so we can feel the passion, blood, sweat, and tears of every practice session that make her concerts so noteworthy. But if she is not comfortable with sharing a less than flattering picture of herself, can we find it in ourselves to let her live? If a friend uploads an undesirable photo of you on a social network, you would want it to be removed. “Take away the power to un-tag and how many women would be orchestrating an online petition to permanently ban Facebook from ever seeing the light of day?” When people become celebrities, do we set and require new societal expectations? Our implications show we demand total transparency from celebrities even if it is embarrassing because we are far removed from the actual life they live.
Beyoncé’s appearance of flawlessness has helped her brand come off as all-s*xy and all-sassy all the time, consistent, and never messy. With Beyoncé we know what we are paying for – her talents and not antics. Though her brand is constantly evolving, we must also remember her rise to fame did not occur during the social media age. “The Beyoncé we’ve come to know has constructed an entire empire based off of seeming perfection and trying to keep the focus on her music, her acting endeavors, her business ventures. She receives million dollar endorsements solely from her pristine beauty and body. I’m not sure how it feels to be labeled one of the most beautiful women in the world, but in addition to her already gargantuan self-standards, one can only imagine the pressure she’s put under. And her rule number one is to never let them catch you slipping. And we can all agree that the one thing Beyoncé demonstrates in her career is to “be a brand first, human second.”
Fans are always thirsty (even the anti-folks who go to every story about her to down her) for her to send out bow-down tweets to other artists or to hear the juicy, most intimate details of her marriage to Jay-Z. The want for Beyoncé to find the perfect medium between her private and public self for the entertainment of others is alarming. We tend to forget we all have inner-Beys. Privacy settings, makeup, and filters have allowed us to leverage between who we are and who we want to expose ourselves to. Are we really out here posting our bad photos and embarrassing ourselves through social media? Of course not–we want people to see us at our best. In reality we are controlling how our “audience” (aka, our friends, family and foes) views our authenticity just like Queen Bey. So what’s the problem?