Megan Thee Stallion galloped onto the rap scene with her cheeky chaps and “bag em and leave em” lyrics and declared 2019 the year of the hot girls.
The 24-year-old’s message quickly shifted the tectonic plates of culture, shaking women (and men) up and encouraging every modern millennial to live our best lives, unapologetically.
But then the question of “who is eligible” for a hot girl summer came into frame—
If the core of Megan’s music promotes travel, sex appeal, getting your own money, his money, and countless orgasms from partners, strangers and friends alike, this movement was intended for the single girls right?
Wrong. Well first off because Megan said so. She herself is in love and told The Root it was a rallying cry for everyone.
But in the gap between confusion and clarity, there were women who desired to leave “hot girl summer” to us single girls. While the urge to ostracize certain women from the wave because they are partnered is inherently mean-spirited, the desire for exclusive celebration is rooted in the fact that single women are culturally trashed in every way. The single woman is always asked why she’s alone, her sanity and mental stability remains in question by everyone around her, and her worth is constantly pitted against her inability to “get or keep a man,” no matter what she has achieved personally or professionally.
Therefore, any message that normalizes a “me first” approach to life as a choice versus a sad alternative for unmarried women was not only exciting, but welcomed.
On the other end of the spectrum, married women either condemned the whole thing in the name of pick-me adjacency or tried to work their relationship status into all the fun out of fear of being left out. For the latter, reclaiming your sexy while knee-deep in relationship is a self-affirming practice. Hell, you can even trick off your own partner by flipping how house chores and bills are split.
For married women, the call to have a “hot girl summer” meant remembering who they were at their core before the burden of responsibility to kids, husbands etc became daily life.
Listening to how different women approached their “hot girl summer” made it clear that there may be animosity or jealousy between women at either life stage. I saw some women saying “my suburban mom summer> hot girl summer,” and some single folks laughed at the partnered folks for missing out on debauchery.
A lot of women subconsciously (or consciously!) engage in the competitive mental gymnastics of who is living a better life?: Moms, wives, or single women?
In some ways our comparisons were forged for us, crafted and molded in patriarchy that leaves us defined by our relationship status and child bearing abilities.
But now we are participants in our own oppression, constantly berating single women for being too independent and therefore lonely, or telling moms and wives that their careers and sense of individuality died with wifehood and motherhood.
The tension between wives and unmarried women plays out in a myriad of micro aggressions every day. Single women will brag about the ability to “pack up and leave” whenever they want, and married women will openly praise “the wife club” as if it is some exclusive title reserved for only the best women among us.
Each side of the aisle tries to promote their way as the best way, when the truth is each season has its own torments, joys, perils, and beauty—and it’s time we stop shaming other women about where they are in life in an attempt to soothe the dissonance we may have with our own life path and choices. The privilege of being a modern woman is the autonomy to pick our lives and how they look for us. The moment we realize that no one truly has it better—we all just have it different—is the moment we can not only celebrate but also learn from one another.