It’s like being told that money doesn’t matter by someone who was born with a trust fund that rivals the gross domestic product of Uganda.
Imagine what it might be like being informed that you shouldn’t worry about your weight — eat whatever you like! — by someone with a hummingbird’s metabolism.
This kind of feel-good advice may be well intended, but it rings a little hollow when the person giving it has never actually had to follow it, like a life-long bachelorette offering marital tips during a wedding speech.
This kind of lack of perspective puts Beyonce Knowles-Carter in perspective.
She’s the well-meaning queen of R&B pop, a proud patrician with plebeian sensibilities.
Talented, hard-working, charitable and beautiful, she’s the rare pop star who actually wants to be a role model and, rarer still, she mostly lives up to the designation.
But here’s the thing, for all of Beyonce’s laudable ladies-first sermonizing and you-go-girl bravura, plenty of it feels perfunctory and, if not exactly disingenuous, not incredibly convincing, either.
At her concerts, one of the running themes is to address women’s body issues.
Beyonce, one of the most gorgeous women in the world, speaks about how one’s looks don’t really matter — it’s who you are on the inside that counts, don’tcha know?
But, really, isn’t it an insult to one’s intelligence for a swan to inform the rest of us mere ducklings that appearances don’t really matter all that much?
This goes double when, at the same time, you’re earning millions hawking various beauty products from L’Oreal to Giorgio Armani.
As commanding a performer as Beyonce is, as radiant a singer as we now have, does anybody really believe that she would have gotten a record deal and a star-making marketing push if, say, she weighed 220 pounds, had a lazy eye and didn’t look like someone ripped from the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine?
Of course, Beyonce’s beauty doesn’t undermine her talents in any way, she’s not successful merely because she’s pretty, but it’s absurd to suggest that her model-worthy physique didn’t play a considerable role in her even getting the opportunity from the entertainment industry to share said talents to begin with.
In this way, Beyonce benefits rather handsomely from the same standards of idealized feminine beauty that she then, in turn, downplays at her shows.
You can’t have it both ways, and yet that’s exactly what Beyonce does.
The last time she performed in Las Vegas, during a stop on her “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour” at the MGM Grand in June, which continues at the same venue this weekend, Beyonce played life coach in a series of taped interludes that were shown while she was offstage, undergoing her many wardrobe changes.
The show itself was a grand, heart-pounding and heart-rending spectacle, with Beyonce looking like an action heroine as she whipped her hair about like she was lashing a bullwhip, danced with equal part grace and fury and sang with lungs on fire — with ample help from vocal backing tracks.
It was an exciting, thunderous performance from a woman at the height of her considerable powers.
Between all the impressive showmanship, though, came the clunky, Stuart Smalley-worthy canards about being comfortable with who you are and how you look no matter your shape or size. Such platitudes came across as empty and generic, probably because the woman expressing them had little firsthand, personal experience with what she was saying.
“Harnessing the power of your body requires responsibility,” Beyonce noted at one point.
We’re not arguing against that sentiment — or any of the others that Beyonce spoke of that evening — just that she start practicing what it is she’s preaching.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.