If I don’t write about Solange in the elevator, I will be the only person on the internet that didn’t. I think my first response when I saw this on the ‘news’ was “who cares?” Seriously, does Jay-Z even care as much as the internet seems to care? I still maintain that stance, but then NPR did a story on it and I recently caught a short blurb of a story they were airing about big sister Beyonce’s recent effort to rally for feminists. Hey, Angelina has already adopted all the kids and taken the title of Gorgeous Hollywood Humanitarian, so Feminism was the only banner left. But all this talk about the Knowles sisters creating a ruckus and how they are viewed symbolically for women had me thinking: Do I want celebrities to represent me as a woman?
Because the answer is no, but I am also waaaaaay past my crop top-wearing, coffee-shop philospher idealist days and well into my khaki pants-wearing, kitchen-dwelling mommy-theocracy years. There was a day not too long ago that I would have stated that these women absolutely represent women. They are powerful, and sexy, and strong. Beyonce sends this message as a powerhouse musician in her own right, and Solange, although not as successful, sure did school Jay-Z in that elevator. I would have said this condescendingly while sipping cheap wine out of a glass sitting on a patio with other like-minded youngsters.
But now, I have two little people that are going to view me as a symbol of what a woman should be, and it occurs to me that the most important lessons they learn about what it means to be a feminist today are not about how I can express my sexuality or defend myself. It is the opposite. Feminism for me means defining myself as an individual that is never judged by her sexuality or her emotional responses. I want my children to see me strong when things are tough and calm in the face of adversity. I also want them to see me as the physical representation of women. That means being healthy and confident. It also means being sexy on occasion, because that is a source of confidence, but it is not a defining characteristic. Nor is being conservative, or ‘non-conformist’ whatever the heck that means now. These may be personal preferences, but they in no means embody a type of representation of feminism.
So I hope Solange an Jay-Z work it out. But I also want her to take some responsibility and say hey girls, that’s not how ladies should act, no matter who is watching. And I also want Beyonce to do something a little more empowering and less provocative if she is going to talk about empowering women. And maybe they should all just take the stairs from now on.