Guest Post: On The Fine Line Between Superficiality and… Empowerment?

by Nadirah Angail

You’ve heard the song. It’s catchy. My daughter and I were bobbing to it the other day in the car.

All eyes on me when I walk in,

No question that this girl’s a ten,

Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful,

Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful…

Then, I got to thinking (as I always do), “Hey, are you sure this is the song you want baby girl bobbing to?” On one hand, I feel Keri. She’s acknowledging her own beauty and telling other women not to feel threatened by it. I can get with that. Already wrote a post about it. Hell, with all the depression, low self esteem and eating disorders we’ve got attacking our pretty little girls, we all need to be singing about how we’re 10s… or do we?

While a part of me likes the song, another part feels it’s only adding to the inverted, twisted-up beauty ideas we’re already choking on. No offense, Ms. Keri, but you’re not the first person to write a song about how cute you are. Truth be told, there are tons of song about that very topic, all blasted by young girls and women who have adopted them as their anthems and used them as their ringtones.

Yet and still, depressed women aren’t becoming any less depressed. The self esteem-less are not gaining esteem, and those with eating disorders still aren’t eating. What’s wrong with this picture?

I guess this emphasized–if not exaggerated– focus on physical beauty wouldn’t be so bad if our beauty standards were actually good. I mean, if we put as much value in the Alek Weks and America Ferreras of the world as we do the Angelina Jolies, girls wouldn’t just be singing these songs. They’d be truly accepting and fully internalizing the “I know I’m pretty” message. In fact, we’d be so aware of and satisfied with our beauty that songs like this wouldn’t even be necessary. It would just be understood, unspoken. There’s nothing wrong with thinking you’re pretty, but what else do you think? Are you smart? Do you have a good heart? How’s your ambition? These are all important parts of ourselves, but we don’t sing about them.

I know what you’re thinking. “All this from a little song? It’s not that deep, Nad. Aren’t you the one that goes around saying ‘hakuna matata’ all the time?” Yes, that’s me, but you can’t listen to song after song, and watch movie after movie, and read magazine after magazine and not be affected.

I’ve always been conscious of the sights and sounds I expose myself to, but now that I’m a mother, I had to go Inspector Gadget on y’all! I’m analyzing everything that comes across our path. Got to. I’ll admit, it gets tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She wouldn’t either.

Nadirah Angel is a Kansas City-based author and blogger. She has written two books and several blogs that speak to her interpretation of the female experience. Find out more about her at


  1. I thought this was a very well thought-out piece. It is indeed nice to know you’re attractive, but it’s also nice to value everything else about you that makes you a total package.