Image Source: Getty / Rodrigo Varela / The Latin Recording Academy
Christina Aguilera gave her iconic “Beautiful” music video a makeover 20 years after the song was first released. “In celebration of the 20 year anniversary of Stripped and World Mental Health Day, I’m honored to share a new music video for Beautiful, coming October 19th,” Aguilera captioned a clip from the video, posted on Oct. 11, one day after World Mental Health Day. “Tune out and turn in. Take your space, log off, put your mind, body, and soul first.”
The snippet centered on a roomful of young girls in matching two-piece leotards as they applied thick layers of makeup. Overhead, adult voices could be heard advising the girls not to slouch, to wear makeup if they wanted to be taken seriously, and to work out regularly — old adages that have been forced onto women and girls for decades.
When the original “Beautiful” video first made its debut in 2002, Aguilera’s fans were awestruck by the raw beauty of the footage paired with the song’s emotional lyrics. “You are beautiful in every single way / words can’t bring you down / so don’t you bring me down today,” Aguilera sang over clips of a woman with anorexia examining herself in the mirror, a same-sex couple kissing, a trans woman preparing to go out, and young people being bullied for their appearances.
“In the last 20 years since ‘Stripped’ was released, social media has transformed our relationship with our bodies, and in turn, our mental health.”
Since its release, Aguilera’s song and the accompanying video have been anthems for those seeking compassion and reassurance. While it’s human nature to live with the fear of judgment and rejection, Aguilera’s lyrics have uplifted the spirits of millions over the last two decades, making her decision to release a new music video on World Mental Health Day that much more meaningful.
In the new video, preteens of multiple genders are shown critiquing their bodies for not being stronger, thinner, or more developed. Some children stand with cosmetic-surgery markings on their faces, while others snap selfies under thick layers of makeup in a performative attempt to feel accepted. Halfway through the video, just as Aguilera’s decades-strong chorus hits, the tone shifts and the kids begin physically and metaphorically tearing down the judgments forced onto them by others. After we see the children laughing and playing, the video ends with a message printed over the image of a bleeding phone.
“In the last 20 years since ‘Stripped’ was released, social media has transformed our relationship with our bodies, and in turn, our mental health,” the message reads. “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. For more information and resources to better your mental health, please visit www.christinaaguilera.com.” On her website, Aguilera links to the International Mental Health Association; Help Guide, a nonprofit guide to mental health and wellness; and Trans Lifeline.
Watch Aguilera’s “Beautiful” music video here.
Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” Music Video (2002)
Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” Music Video (2022)
If you are feeling anxious or depressed and need assistance finding help or resources, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264) have resources available. Additionally, if you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has resources available, including a 24/7 helpline at (800) 931-2237.