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Things We Saw Today: Christina Aguilera Rereleases Her Most Popular Song on Its 20th Anniversary, Keeping With Important Message

Two screenshots of "Bueatiful" by Christina Aguilera.

In December of 2002, pop star Christina Aguilera released her music video for the self-acceptance anthem Beautiful, and still today, it is one of her most famous tracks ever. Even the official version uploaded to YouTube seven years after its release has over 139 million views. After Beautiful was featured in a 2006 anti-bullying PSA, its reach and impact grew. The song/video won lots of prestigious awards from the LGBTQ+ community and was featured at LA Pride 2022. Twenty years after the original, Aguilera rereleased the song with a new music video to address issues related to self-confidence today.

While there are a few references to the original, and the core message is the same, the 2022 version has an overarching antagonist: social media. Instead of a wide range of ages, the narrative is fixated on kids and teens grappling with issues of depression, body dysmorphia, and self-harm. The intro even starts with competing voices speaking to them and telling them how to attract attention online, and the visuals that follow from the plastic surgeon to the ring light army confirm this. The video ends with this message:

In the last 20 years, since Stripped was first released, social media has transformed our relationship with our bodies and in turn our health. Research suggests that time spend otn social networking sites is associated with body image issues, self-harm and disorder eating in children and teens. This needs to change.

The end of the video points to more resources on her website. There and in the video’s description, there are more links to the International Mental Health Association, Help Guide, and the Trans Lifeline. I’m glad the person who chose these links included international help and help for trans people. Queer youth have higher rates of self-harm, and yet they were largely cut out of this version. Even by narrowing the message to just kids (instead of adults, too, like in the original) and with the less radical nature of the video, this rerelease is a net good. Self-doubt and insecurity isn’t just related to one gender or race.

(featured image: screencap)

Here are some other bits of news out there:

  • Pioneering developer at Sega and one of the most high-profile women in gaming, Rieko Kodama, passes away. (via IGN)
  • Nikyatu Jusu to direct a reimaging of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. (via Deadline)
  • After proposing a Center for Racial Justice in 2020, Penn State’s president said the center will not by funded by the university. (via Spotlight PA reporter Wyatt Massey)
  • Daniel Radcliffe breaks down his most iconic roles ahead of the release of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. (via GQ)

What did you see today, Mary Suevians?

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)