Dear Rakhi Kumar,
As I write this letter to you, my 7 week old daughter is asleep on my shoulder. Having her was and still is the scariest and hardest thing I have ever had to do. When I was 9 months pregnant with her, my doctor informed me I would need a C-Section to avoid serious medical complications for myself and my daughter. I was terrified, and while home resting on the sofa I was lucky to find Beyonce's HBO documentary in which she shared details of her past miscarriage, her second pregnancy, and the birth of her daughter. Never before did I think I would be able to connect with another human being through a television screen and yet, there I was, sharing common feelings of anxiousness, scariness, and excitement with one of the most famous women in the world. Her and I were the same for that moment, which is why when I read your letter to Michelle Obama disagreeing with her about Beyonce being a role model, I felt compelled to write this letter.
While I agree with you that the music industry often "prefers girls to be no more complex than dolls", I think many women will agree with me that Beyonce has far surpassed that realm of complexity, and judging her based on her choice of costume is juvenile and short sided. You're probably right, "variations of Beyonce's body suit can be found in brothels, strip clubs, and red light districts across the world", (as well as Ballet studios, gymnasiums, and ice skating rinks). You are wrong to say that Beyonce's status as a mother, leader, teacher, daughter, etc. is forgotten when she steps on stage in a sheer bodysuit, because while wearing said bodysuit she sings, and her songs purvey messages of love, strength, and most importantly, female independence.
You mention in your letter to my First Lady that she should think twice next time before she endorses a woman like Beyonce who "wears sheer body suits and high heels, singing about making money and being independent." Is there something wrong with high heels, making money, and being independent? That single statement of yours belittles any woman who has ever put on a pair of shoes, a dress, a new pair of jeans and felt confident and beautiful because of it. My First Lady is a large promoter of self confidence and women's health, and I cannot think of a better role model for self confidence than a strong, independent woman, who is comfortable with her body.
I'm not sure where you got your facts regarding sex trafficking, but saying that it occurs because the woman is given "hot pants or body suits like the one Beyonce's dancing in" is completely inaccurate. Most often the women are forced into it against their will; I can assure you that no woman has become a sex slave because she was promised a sheer body suit.
You expressed your belief that a young girl, trying to escape a life of abuse at home, can be irreparably damaged by believing in a life of money and glamour like the one Beyonce has. They can however be saved through creative outlets such as music and dance, or singing and listening to songs with messages like:
"You say you've got the most respect for me, but, sometimes I feel you're not deserving of me."
"I learned a lot along the way, after all the rain, you'll see the sun come out again, I know that I will never disappoint myself."
Yes Beyonce is choosing to wear see through body suits while she sings, but she is not a young girl, she is a grown woman, and feeling sexy, whether it via high heels or body suits, is a rite of passage for every woman's self confidence. Ask any woman who ever fought to lose weight, spent hours doing their hair, ran that extra mile on the treadmill, or splurged on that pair of heels, looking and feeling good boosts self confidence and mental health.
I'm sure my First Lady would disapprove if her 12 or 15 year old daughter wore a sheer body suit around the White House. However, if they grew up to make millions of money by hard work, dedication, and spreading messages of love, female unity, and self-independence, I'm sure her and my President would be more than proud .
I do have a daughter, and much to the dismay of your parenting tips, I plan on teaching her that the biggest crime a woman can make is judging another woman based on their wardrobe choices and not their strengths and accomplishments.
Mother, Daughter, Sheer Body Suit Supporter
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