Christina Aguilera takes on beauty standards in new music video for “Beautiful”

Times have changed since Christina Aguilera first released her music video for “Beautiful,” so she remade it to reflect the challenges of today and to mark the 20th anniversary of her fourth album, Stripped.

Stripped was released on October 22, 2002, and the song “Beautiful” subsequently became an anthem for self-love and acceptance. Now, Christina hopes the song becomes a warning about the dangers of social media’s impact on children.

The music video tackles how girls are flooded with images of women with youthful faces and voluptuous bodies, while boys are encouraged to have the sculpted body of an action hero. 

Throughout the video, children are either seen holding up their cameras to film what they are pressured to look like — through the exposure of liposuction, bodybuilding and other cosmetic surgeries — or have the camera trained on themselves to show how they’re embracing these standards.

The music video also explores how isolating these messages are by showing a young, larger girl staring down a vending machine stuffed with diet pills, and also a boy fantasizing on how to end his life in a hospital room.

The video concludes with these same kids, without their phones, running around in the sun on a grassy field — finally acting their age.

The video warns in the end, as blood pours from a smartphone, “In the last 20 years, since Stripped was first released, social media has transformed our relationship with our bodies, and in turn, our mental health.  Research suggests that time spent on social networking sites is associated with body image issues, self-harm and disordered eating in children and teens. This needs to change.”

The new music video officially kicks off the 20th anniversary celebration of the Stripped album.

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