You must not know bout the internet, Bey. We spend half our time watching videos of animals, and the other half with a monocle smooshed against our faces, analyzing celebrity pics for signs of Photoshop. We love it – where there’s evidence of airbrushing, there was likely a flaw, and where there’s a flaw, there’s slightly less of a difference between famous people’s perfection and our raw, unfiltered, human putrescence, and like, that feels nice.
Anyway, Beyoncé posted a picture of her golfing in a bikini because sure on her Instagram on Thursday, April 10 where she probably (paid someone else to) digitally make her thigh gap a bit thigh gappier. And the internet is like “whaaaat?” because I guess real life is still boring.
But before we all grab the pitchforks (they aren’t even cold), let’s not forget who we’re dealing with here: Beyoncé has a record of being consistently meticulous about her image. There are few celebrities who seem more aware of their perceived, what pieces contribute to that, and how to stay firmly in control of all of them. One of many examples: The first pictures of Blue Ivy came didn’t come from unsanctioned paparazzi shots, nor a lucrative magazine cover deal, but from Beyoncé’s own Tumblr, which was created basically for the sole purpose of giving fans the access they would inevitably want to the Carter family, but in a tightly controlled setting.
It’s smart: Bey knows the demand for access to her private life would do nothing but escalate in response to tightly drawn curtains, so to protect herself and her family from invasive attempts to peek in, she been pretty open…on her terms. It’s like letting a little pressure escape so the whole thing doesn’t blow up; it’s accepting that curiosity about your private world is part of the celeb game, while refusing to become a victim of it. Via her Tumblr and Instagram (and her documentary and videos and…), Beyoncé crafts an intentional culture of candidness, and at least the appearance of invitation with her fans – all while getting to carefully curate, reinforce, and evolve her brand at the same time. There’s no relinquishing context or narrative to sensationalist tabloids. She grants the access, and lays the path through which that access is available, so she gets to be the one who creates the story.
I just wanted to give Bey a well-earned salute for seemingly having mastered the notoriously and unapologetically brutal gossip media game before saying how doing shit like ‘shopping her Instagrams kinda fucks with the idea she’s trying to sell of herself. Because it is. Not that it should be terribly surprising; Bey isn’t new to the life of being extra controlling over what images of her are used.
When you have one of the most celebrated bodies in the world and you still find enough wrong with it that you feel the need to alter photos before sharing them, how are we supposed to buy your continuous lambasting of unrealistic beauty standards for women, and all your empowered messages of body-positivity? Like, Beyoncé is allowed to have her insecurities as much as anyone else, truly. Anyone who would hold that against her needs to remember that she isn’t actually God, but is a human and a woman and a very, very famous person who is subjected to infinitely more scrutiny and likely at least as much self-doubt as the rest of us.
So I’m not criticizing the fact that maybe she had a moment where she felt like “fuuuck, I look super chunk and gross in the pic” because I have to believe that even Beyoncé feels that from time to time. I’m not hating on her for those feelings. I’m just saying, for someone who seems as on top of her brand game as she does, how can she not see how offering up digitally slimmed down photos of her body makes her look less like the head cheerleader of body acceptance that she wants us to see her as, and more like a fraudulent part of the problem?