What Beyoncé Got Wrong at Beychella
Like most millennial fan girls in America last week, I tuned into Beyoncé’s new Homecoming doc on Netflix. I was basically in tears belting out Beyoncé lyrics and nodding along in reverence up until the part where she described the crazy restrictive diet she went on to lose her baby weight and prep for her Coachella performance in 2018.
My heart sank as she ticked off the long list of food groups she eliminated. I won’t list them here because I don’t want to further glorify restrictive eating, but the list is out there on the Internet if you need to see it.
She also talked about how she exercised and rehearsed to burn a sh*t ton of calories. Again, I won’t list specifics, but she was exercising way more than I was at the peak of my triathlon training, which was plenty by anyone’s standards.
Up until that point I was totally with her. Girl power? Check. Black girl power? Even bigger check. Diverse body types in her ensemble? Ehh, a half check, but better than most.
Beyoncé had the opportunity to show that a mom can rock a stage at any size, and yet, she chose to glorify crash dieting and disordered eating instead. She could have let the baby weight stay on or come off at its own pace and still blown people away with her talent. If anyone could have done it, it’s Queen B. She could have proven to the world that she is SO much more than just the size of her body, but instead, she shrank herself.
The Internet is ablaze with people saying how inspirational her eight-month Coachella body prep was for her two-hour performance and how they envy her dedication, but I see it differently.
In my opinion, she gave into societal pressure and conformed. She tortured herself to fit the mold of how a “sexy pop star,” “successful woman,” and “mom-who-has-it-all” should look. It would have been way more inspiring to me if she had rocked stretch marks and a fupa for the world to see. You know she still would have given an epic performance AND promoted body diversity at the same time.
She also would have started a conversation about body diversity, body acceptance, and body positivity. Instead, the Internet was full of headlines reading, “Could You Survive on The Beychella Diet?” Cue my eye roll…
Beyoncé admitted that she was HUNGRY, exhausted and worn out from her crazy diet and exercise regime. What’s even sadder is that she sacrificed hours and hours of time with her newborn twins and toddler to be at the gym to prep for the show. That is precious time with her babies that she’ll never get back. Unfortunately this is a tradeoff many new moms feel the need to make in order to “lose the baby weight” all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about mom’s taking me-time and living healthy lives, but only when it’s empowering and fulfilling and not out of deprivation or punishment.
I would have loved to see a more full-figured Beyoncé talk about the importance of taking care of her mental and physical health while bonding with her kids AND putting on the show of a lifetime instead of hearing about how her number one goal was to fit into her old costumes. It’s 2019 – have we not evolved? I just wish she would have slayed WITH some baby weight. To me, that would have been way more impressive than the crazy crash diet she went on.
Beyoncé was fiercely promoting girl power throughout her documentary, and yet she succumbed to dieting – the oldest trick in the book to keep women small in society. Ironically, one of the main themes of the documentary was celebrating women’s bodies, specifically black women’s bodies, curves and all, while another was how much she sacrificed to shrink her own. This disconnect gives the message that she wants to celebrate curves up to a certain point, or curves on *other* women.
Has diet culture really become so engrained that none of the producers on this doc realized the irony and inconsistency here? Did no one scratch his or her head at that one?
None of this is meant to take away from Beyoncé’s performance, which was nothing short of incredible– she was the first black woman to headline Coachella and she put on an epic show. Her dedication to her craft is insanely inspiring.
However, I really feel that she missed the opportunity to show the world that a woman can light up a stage at any size. (Hello, Lizzo!) To show new moms that losing baby weight is not and should not be the number one priority after giving birth. To show young girls that they can break glass ceilings with any body shape. And to show the world that the idea of women needing to sacrifice their own wellbeing in order to be perfect wives, mothers, and career women all while maintaining a slim physique is o-v-e-r.
Don’t even get me started on Kim K…