Call me courageous -- Brian, you're so brave! -- but I've got to take an outspoken stand on yesterday's Super Bowl halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez, a.k.a. J. Lo, and Shakira.
I am unabashedly in favor of beautiful women wearing as little as possible during a musical performance, and dancing in a sexually provocative manner.
There. I said it.
Let the .000001% of men who disagree with me take me to task, along with the almost equally small percentage of women who believe that female performers should cover themselves demurely on stage, and dance as if a Puritan God was watching.
If you didn't see the halftime show, you're in luck. Here's a video of the whole performance, which my wife and I thought was fantastic.
However, this morning someone on my Twitter feed shared a tweet by conservative religious nut-job Franklin Graham, with this right-on comment:
Imagine if your church were less worried about women displaying their sexuality and more worried about your president trying to rape them.
In a similar vein, the conservative Washington Examiner also found a lot not to like in the halftime show.
During this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez took the stage for a performance that was supposed to be about celebrating their Latino heritage and empowering women. That's all fine, but the show was still completely inappropriate for children and the Super Bowl.
When J-Lo shimmies down a stripper pole in Hustlers, she’s doing so in an R-rated film. In theory, no one under age 17 sees it. That isn't so when she does it at the Super Bowl.
Worse than Shakira's and J-Lo’s oversexualized performance, however, was the message it sent to young viewers. Millions of families watch the Super Bowl each year, and for the finale, J-Lo even brought her 11-year-old daughter on stage with her for a performance of Let’s Get Loud. By that point, a convenient outfit change had made her look a bit more appropriate for sharing the stage with children.
Yeah — but what about everyone else's children?
Answer: it was fine for them to watch also.
Outrage over what's viewable at the Super Bowl should be focused on the spectacle of grown men running around doing their best to give the other team brain damage, knee damage, and damage to other important bodily parts.
Fortunately, wiser minds than Franklin Graham and the Washington Examiner had positive things to say about the performance by J. Lo and Shakira.
Given this thicket of seemingly incompatible truths, the easy way out is to complain that the halftime show was obscene, the opposite of family-friendly, proof of the corruption of American mass culture. If you can condemn the entire enterprise, you’re not obligated to work your way through the mess at the heart of it, much less to accept that you’re going to have to live with certain hypocrisies.
But sometimes the only way — and the more fun way — out of a mess is through it. If you’re inevitably going to be valued based on your body, might as well make a whole lot of money off the one you’ve got. If you’re inevitably going to be characterized as a whore or a Madonna, why not insist on the best of both, as J-Lo did when she alternated between working a stripper pole and delivering a moving duet with her daughter? If beauty standards aren’t going to be dismantled in a day, might as well enjoy the women whose discipline at maintaining their physiques makes the men look like slackers by comparison.
New York Times: J. Lo and the Power of 50
Fifty won the Super Bowl.
Fifty years between wins for the Kansas City Chiefs, and 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez, whose halftime performance in a series of barely-there Versace bodysuits sent social media into something of a meltdown.
More than four decades ago, Gloria Steinem crafted an aphorism that went down in history when, on her 40th birthday, a reporter told her she did not look her age — and she responded: “This is what 40 looks like.”
Well, on Sunday Ms. Lopez showed the world what 50 looks like — at least her version of it.
...Yes, the outfits were a little silly. Yes, they were racy (though they did show less skin than Adam Levine revealed last year when he went topless during his halftime Super Bowl show). Yes, Shakira, the other halftime star, also wore a teeny tiny micro skirt with lots of sparkling fringe by Peter Dundas — and yes, she’s 43.
But the total J. Lo effect was kind of mesmerizing: an in-your-face demonstration of a woman glorying in her own physicality, and a dare to anyone who might render judgment based on a number.