The 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show is being hailed as “feminist” and “empowering” by commenters on YouTube and Twitter. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I wasn’t aware that dancing in a sexually provocative manner while wearing skimpy clothing for the pleasure of men was considered feminist or empowering. Not only that, but it was all done in front of children. Where, pray tell, is the empowerment in that? It seems to me that there is a section of modern feminists that have fooled themselves into believing that wearing revealing clothing and making everything about sex somehow gives women back their identity. That it gives them greater power over themselves and over others. This belief is far from true, all these women are doing is relegating the identity of women in general to physical appearance and sex. Newsflash, when you hold a topless march against bras and the “patriarchy” all you are doing is making a mockery of the original feminist movement. The vast majority of men are not paying attention to your march because they believe in your cause, but because they want to see your breasts. Similarly, when you get up on a stage, gyrate in a sexual manner, take off a layer or two of clothing to reveal an appealing figure and jump up on a stripper pole, you are not empowering a worthwhile movement. Instead, you are simply encouraging the majority of men to look at you as though you are a piece of meat that exists only to look good and please them. In addition to this, the little boys and girls that are watching are learning to think of women as sexual objects. The girls leave thinking they have to look, move, and talk like J. Lo and Shakira in order to get boys. The boys leave wanting girls to look, move, and talk like J. Lo and Shakira. Then there is another facet to the lasting impression of such a burlesque performance, the wives and girlfriends of the men. Does seeing their men ogle a half naked, dancing woman on stage do them any good? Do they feel empowered when they get home, look in the mirror, and then see that they have no hope of duplicating what you just encouraged their husband to take pleasure in? Now, I know that there will always be a spectrum of attractiveness among all people, but the level to which that goes is not always within a person’s control. So, when J. Lo and Shakira make the choice to wear skimpy outfits and dance sexually in front of men, they are directly inviting a sexual comparison between them and the wives and girlfriends of those men. Who, besides J. Lo and Shakira, are empowered by this?
When watching the video I tried to pay attention to the lyrics of the songs and other visual messages they may have been trying to communicate. It was tricky because the music is so loud at these concerts that it drowns out quite a few words and I have never been good at following a song anyways. However, it seemed to me that both performers had other messages they wanted to share. J. Lo wore a large boa styled American flag at one point and shouted out to her fellow Latinos and Shakira performed dances from various cultures. Yet, when it is all sexualized those other messages can easily fade into the background. Especially when certain portions of the performance seem almost orgy-like.
This is certainly not a new issue and Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are far from being the only offenders. In fact, compared to some other performers their show was tame in many ways. Their performance peaked my interest because I know the NFL has refused to feature rock bands in its halftime show in the past due to them not being family friendly. So when I heard that these two women performed the way they did, I saw hypocrisy on the part of the NFL. Then upon viewing the recording of the show on YouTube I realized just how far certain branches of modern “feminists” have strayed from the respect that the original suffragists were seeking from men. There are still those feminists, such as Christina Hoff Sommers, that wish to promote respect between men and women, but their message is severely undercut by the more sexually exploitative “feminists.” Whose message, it seems, matches that of the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show…that women are best valued as sexual objects.