This yearâ��s Super Bowl was epic. It was everything you'd want in a Super Bowl; high tension, neck and neck until the very end, a killer halftime show and the underdogs pulling it out at the end. The emphasis of this blog, however, is on the killer halftime show. Why? Because it was Madonna. Few people in history get to go merely by their first name, and she's on that short list.
Madonna is one of those women who has earned every ounce of her iconic status. She personifies “entertainer” and while she certainly dances to the rhythm of her own drum, she also has a magnificent and fearless ability to reinvent herself by staying current and relevant over the course of her several decade long career. Yet despite the laundry list of impressive attributes this envelope-pushing powerhouse has to offer, all I heard during her halftime performance was how old she was and the disbelief that she was still performing at all.
I mean, are you kidding me? The woman is just 53, not 117 and I have a feeling that with all the yoga sheâ��s into, sheâ��ll probably still be kicking ass at 117 anyway. The point is that when the decrepit, Mick Jagger with his raisin-wrinkled face and ungraceful dance moves gets up on stage, nobody mentions a peep about the appropriateness of his stage performance. His talent, big mouth and timeless songs are the topic of conversation.
And I know that nothing about this conversation is novel. There has always been a double standard for girls and their self-worth has been heavily contingent on their physical attractiveness (especially in the media), which we cap at around 35. My problem is the resignation associated with it. The apathy associated with how women are treated, talked about, and disrespected leaving intolerable conditions for the next generation to surrender to and accept as normal.
I overheard a girl at a booth next to me in LA say, â��Iâ��d eat one of those cupcakes except for the fact that skinny feels better than fat tastes; then again even if I lost 20 more pounds, Iâ��d still feel fat because itâ��s part of a femaleâ��s DNA.â�� Both girls laughed and I sat there with my jaw on the ground unable to remember when our standard state of insecurity had become something we prized and giggled over.
The same situation happened when a woman in Starbucks commented on my skin declaring, â��You have beautiful young skin. I used to be beautiful when I was young too, but Iâ��m old now. Oh the glory days.â�� She chuckled as her compliment was simultaneously lifting me up and breaking her down.
â��Please donâ��t say that,â�� I responded. "Because while you think youâ��re paying me a compliment, and I certainly appreciate it, youâ��re also teaching me to associate and accept a conditional beauty hinging on age and we all deserve a broader definition than that. You are beautiful, as is your skin, and it has nothing to do with the years you have been alive. It has to do with your kindness and your willing to stop a stranger in a coffee shop and offer them a compliment. I just wish you were as nice to yourself as you are to me.â��
Her eyes welled up with tears and she quietly said thank you before walking off.
I want new standards for our worth, and I want a new measuring stick for our confidence that is not contingent on our physical beauty. I want our female icons to not be invalidated and their contributions unappreciated because they have a few smile lines that they damn well deserve. Madonna kicks ass, period. Our DNA does not justify our society’s pressure to chronically feel fat and unattractive. Our age does not impact our beauty. And I refuse to giggle or chuckle about girls and women not feeling enough because of the narrow window of time we have to be “pretty” according to the programming we’re fed by the $400-billion, fault-finding “beauty” industry telling us we are chronically flawed.
So, even if it's just for one day, one hour or one minute, may you sit with the truth that you are enough, that you are perfectly and wonderfully flawed and that you are in fact beauty-full. Why? Because you deserve it, our future generation of girls deserve it, and we all deserve to know the truth that we are intrinsically and immeasurably valuable regardless of size, shape, color or age. You matter, what you think matters and who you are matters. Everything else is just icing on your fine ass cake.Images courtesy of Zimbio.com, Ecouterre.com