|Beyoncé, via Twitter
As over the top as it was, I actually found Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show entertaining and empowering. I loved that every person on the stage, from the backup dancers to the drummers, was a woman. I loved the unexpected reunion of Destiny’s Child in such a high-profile spot. I loved the proud way Beyoncé wore her post-baby curves and despite public petitions to do it, she did not share the stage with her famous hip-hip mogul husband, Jay-Z.
There were mixed reactions on my social media pages, ranging from “she rocks!” to “she looks like a stripper!” It reminded me of the stream of opinions I viewed back in December following the prime time Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Sure, there were plenty of inappropriate comments but there were also some intelligent debates on the role and intention of such skin parades.
I have three daughters ages four and younger and so I try to consider debates like these from every angle. As a grown woman well past any unhealthy body image issues, the way Beyoncé dresses or how good a $2 million bra looks on an Angel does not bother me much. Hey, if $2 million can’t buy you a good-looking chest, what can?
I realize the way my girls view these things, especially a few years from now, will be in the same innocent, formative way that I viewed similar things in my youth. I never want them to feel pressure to conform to a particular body type or image contrived by popular culture. I also never want them to feel that a woman’s body is something of which to be ashamed or that a celebration of it is obscene. So there is a delicate line I will have to walk, like so many other parents of young women in this Internet-crazed age. I’m not yet sure how the words will form, but I do know I want these three points to be part of the conversation with my daughters:
Women aren’t the enemy. It may seem that everywhere you look, a woman is being pitted against another one. Working moms versus stay-at-home ones. Extended breastfeeders versus “lesser” moms. The pretty girl in advertising versus the more conservative, but smart, girl in accounting. Kim versus Kourtney. Jennifer versus Angelina. And the list goes on. The problem with attacking other women on any level is that the act demeans women as a group. It seems that popular culture loves a good hair-pulling, eye-scratching cat fight. Be wise enough to see past this form of degradation and spend your energy on your own improvement and self-worth.
You can be anything. If that means you want to follow in the footsteps of Marissa Mayer and head a Fortune 500 company (and have a baby, and a husband, and a life too), you can do that. If you want to stay at home with your little ones and create your own preschool activities instead of dropping them off at child care, you should never feel inadequate for that choice. If you have the body and confidence to rock out for millions of fans during the biggest sporting event of the year wearing nothing but black lingerie and knee-high boots, I will cover your dad’s eyes – but you can do that too. So many other women have blazed these trails so that you don’t have to. There will be other battles to fight in your own generation but you will triumph as others have before you.
You are beautiful. Every minute of every hour of every day for the rest of your life, you will be beautiful. I’ve heard people say that they wish they could see themselves in the way a spouse or significant other views them. But my wish for you is to view yourself the way that your parents do – full of admiration, pride and unconditional joy. The truth is that how others view you will never be enough to convince you that you are a beautiful, marvelous and wonderfully-made woman. But my hope for you is that you reach a point in your own time when you come to this realization. I can, and will, still tell you this a lot in hopes that one day my outer voice reflects your inner one.
Let’s connect on social media too: