Song Analysis

Beauty Queen

Monday 8 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song.

"When you hear ’Beauty Queen’, you are hearing this girl in that moment: She’s standing in that bathroom, watching those girls put on that lipstick. I don’t want us to be talking to her 15 minutes later about what she realized in that bathroom. I want her to go back to that moment in the bathroom: It’s white. It’s that funny fluorescent light. It’s that tile, with the green crud in between. It’s those old toilets with the beautiful handles. You can hear the sound of the water dripping. Time doesn’t exist in that moment.

I wanted you to feel that kind of swimming, where you’re almost coming back from 15 feet under water, and you’re coming up, and you’re almost up. That’s what it’s like in that bathroom, when you’re looking and you’re realizing what’s really going on at your table. That’s what I want to catch. This is not a confident girl. You are not at acceptance level. You are in her brain, getting triggered. The little windshield wipers are going, and you’re starting to see it from the other side...always onto the tape. Every time you hear it, that girl is in the bathroom, putting on that lipstick. Every time." (Musician, May 1996)

"She’s a beauty queen, and that’s not enough because it never is. The idea that beauty is our answer when we are four years old, ’oh, isn’t she pretty...’ that’s the first thing that you hear. So it’s going after those programs of the feminine, going after them, going after them." (BSide, May/June 1996)