When we asked for guest posts today about the Super Bowl half-time performance last night, we were inundated with responses. We haven’t traditionally done this — asked for timely responses (some would describe them derisively as “hot takes”) about major cultural events. For me, this time felt different. I had no idea what I was feeling, and I wanted to know why. So I reached out and asked what others wanted to say.
The women in our community — midlife women who are writers — were evenly split about whether they had negative or positive responses to what happened on the stage. Many weren’t even sure where they stood, exactly.
But that split — positive vs. negative — doesn’t begin to convey the complexity of reactions that our community had. We’ve chosen just a few. I wish we could have published dozens.
To read another perspective very different from this guest post writer’s, read today’s “A Latina Gen-Xer’s Take on the Half-Time Booty Shake.”
As I watched the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show I didn’t know whether to keep watching or to turn it off.
I love the way Jennifer Lopez supports families and underprivileged communities. Plus, she’s 50, and her appearance and her performance were amazing.
And Shakira, at 43, has always done an amazing job of highlighting and celebrating Latin dance for the mainstream market and the girl can shake those hips.
But this performance felt different.
It Was So Sexual
There was something incredibly provocative about the performance, the costumes, even the camera angles. These two performers could have done just as much shaking on stage without it leaving me feeling dirty and wondering if my kids should be seeing this.
J. Lo and Shakira are known for their barely-there costumes, hip- and booty- shaking dances, and sultry looks. But why did we need to see close-ups of their crotches? Why did we need to watch pole dancing during family tv-viewing? Why did we need to make a public football game about sex?
Here’s The Problem
For me, I felt uncomfortable. I battled between feeling like I want to be just like them to feeling ashamed of what they were portraying. I didn’t look as good at 25 as J. Lo does at 50. I’ve come to terms with that. And if she wants to show off her body, that is her right.
But this performance felt like a very expensive strip show for very wealthy men.
Neither of these incredible performers left me feeling like I, as a woman, could now achieve something great. They didn’t inspire me to show my daughter what amazing things they could do on stage or at a national event. They didn’t make me want to show my son that beauty and power can go together.
I felt dirty. And small. And insignificant.
And some may say that has more to do with me than it does with them. Maybe it does. Maybe they felt powerful on that stage in a way I can’t relate to. But from my living room it just looked like another example of women using their bodies to achieve something instead of using their talent.
They could have done so much better.
We Should Do Better
Sex sells. We know it. We live in a society surrounded by it. But when the Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events for kids and adults alike, we can do better – we should do better.
We can entertain across generations without making parents feel the need to have their kids leave the room.
We can show amazing, strong women without close ups of their barely covered crotches.
We can sing and dance and be wowed by men and women sharing their art without feeling dirty.
This performance perpetuated the idea that this is a man’s game for a man’s world. I don’t need any more of that in my life.
Rebecca Hastings traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. Passionate about authenticity, faith, and family, you can find her at RebeccaHastings.net, and on Amazon, and on Instagram. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places or wherever there is chocolate.