We may be so vain, but there's little doubt this song is about us.
Beyoncé shocked the world by releasing a secret new self-titled album, and the first track calls out South Beach, and not in the loving way her hubby Jay-Z usually does. "Pretty Hurts" places South Beach amongst the scourges that fuel America's obsession with beauty and physical perfection.
Yes, Beyoncé may be one of the consensus top ten most beautiful women in the world, but even Bey struggles under the demands to be pretty. "Perfection is the disease of a nation," she sings. "Pretty hurts / Shine the light on whatever's worse / Tryna fix something / But you can't fix what you can't see / It's the soul that needs the surgery."
South Florida's most famous beach gets its cameo in the second verse:
Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says bigger is better
South Beach, sugar free
Thinner is better
Oh, it's like that. It's like South Beach's world renown as a vanity capital is so obvious Bey doesn't even have to explain it to us. We're right up there with Vogue magazine, diet food and blonde hair. South Beach has pretty much become synonymous with physical perfection.
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It's not like Beyoncé was the first to make the observation. Nip/Tuck, the plastic surgery melodrama about the lengths people go to be pretty, was set in Miami after all. Readers of Travel + Leisure regularly puts Miamians at or near the top of American cities with the prettiest people. Miamians agree too. A 2011 Living Social survey ranked Miami as the vainest city in America. When asked to rate their appearance on a scale of 1 to 10, Miamians ranked themselves on average a 7.23. Second place Chicago wasn't even close with an average self-rating of 6.93.
So even when Mrs. Carter strolls down South Beach, she notices there's a higher ratio of hotties than most stretches of sand, but that's missing the forest for the trees. Or the hardbodies for the full beach. You might be too busy checking out Lycra-clad curves, but peppered amongst them are more than a few people with perfect bodies still frolicking confidentially.
Mamas with bodies that look like someone let the air out of a Kardashian still rocking that thong. European dudes with muffin tops jutting over their Speedo waistbands oiling themselves up. And it's really those people who are the true heroes of South Beach -- the people who already learned the lessons Bey is trying to teach us in the song. They may not have perfect bodies, but that's not going to deter them from minimizing tan lines.