I got my Time Magazine (double issue!) this week, informing me that I would behold the world's 100 Most Influential People when I cracked open the pages. Whether I agree with Time Magazine's assessment on who holds these sacred spots, the people covered do hold major influence. People like Janet Yellen ("captain of the U.S. economy"), Aliko Dangote (businessman and activist in Africa), and Jason Collins (NBA player--and first openly gay, still active pro athlete in a major U.S. sports league) all stand out as influential people, people who make changes, people who stand up and stand out.
Guess who was on the front cover?
The girl who achieved status so much so that she only has to go by her first name.
She stands for girl power, the article says, and independence. Honestly, I don't listen to enough of Beyonce's music to really know if that's true or not, but what I see on stage and hear in the music I am familiar with doesn't match what the article claims. Beyonce uses her body and sex to sell her image and her music, and to me, that's not girl power. Girl Power is equipping younger generations with more than just an image and a body to sell; it's telling our girls that they are more than the sum of their parts. Girl Power is encouraging our daughters to use their minds and their education to get ahead, not their bodies, their beauty, their sex, their hotness, or their mini-skirts. Girl Power is saying I don't have to sing half-naked at the Grammys to get my fame and fortune. Or act like a stripper. Or sing about sex. All the time.
I'm not down on Beyonce so much as I am down on what we hold up and esteem as good and positive and influential. I don't dispute that she is influential. But I do dispute why she is influential.
We--you and me--can be influential, too, you know, even though we aren't married to Jay-Z, we may not know much about business, and we haven't made great advancements in finding a cure for cancer.
It starts at home.
Unless you're a hermit (and I certainly don't begrudge you if you are--sometimes I feel like hiding away myself), you are around other people. And when you are around other people, you have eyes on you. Not always eyes that are judging, but eyes that are watching. I do it. Everybody does. And when you have eyes on you, it's your time to shine. To really prove what you are all about, to show what you're made up. To prove that what you say you believe and stand for and are all about is true.
It's your time to influence the people around you.
You can make the world a better place to live in. In your little part of the world, in your house, in your job, at your school, you have the power to make change.
We can stand up, stand out and make positive changes right where we are, right now.
Will we land on the coveted cover of Time Magazine as one the 100 Most Influential People in the World?
Does it matter that Time may not feature our lives in a 3-paragraph article?
Not in the least.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.