The Super Bowl has come and gone. Despite the confusing name, the team from Missouri won; which is good because the people from that area need something to celebrate between flood seasons. I hung out with The Hubs until about halftime, watching commercials, then returning to reading my book when the game came back on. As I was getting ready for bed, The Hubs called me into the living room, with something he wanted me to see.
He backed up the program so I could see the halftime show. Musicians Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were shimmying and shaking everything they had for national television and our entertainment. Admittedly they looked amazing — especially for their age. I am nowhere near as preserved and frankly, didn’t look or move that great a couple of decades ago.
What I don’t quite grasp is why so many people were spouting off about how it was all about female empowerment. I am missing something, obviously. I fail to see how dressing up like a stripper, shaking your lady bits and swinging from a pole is empowering. That is selling sex.
It’s also sending a terrible message to our girls. It screams, in order to be empowered, strong and successful, you need to strip down to mostly nothing because no one cares about your brain. The music was not about empowerment — it was mostly about dancing, shaking your hips and “booty”. What is empowering about that? If your music is good, you shouldn’t need to do a bump and grind while dressed as a dominatrix as a means of entertainment.
Singing Jeannine Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA”, “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy or an Aretha Franklin “Respect” tribute would have sent a stronger message and not required a stripper pole. Those are songs about valuing and standing up for yourself.
I also feel in some ways it makes the claims of sexual harassment seem like a joke, when these two women, both of whom have claimed sexual harassment in the work place, strut onto stage and do the human equivalent of an animal kingdom mating dance for entertainment purposes. Does that mean women can’t be sexual or celebrate their femininity? Of course not, I just think they are sending a message that devalues their stance they are artists who should be taken seriously. If a male entertainer performed in skimpy costumes with repeated crotch shots from the camera crew, the uproar would be heard two planets away — why isn’t it for females?
Even more frustrating is the dirty secret that every time there is a major sporting event, the amount of sex trafficking skyrockets in that area. Girls, women and boys who have no choice regarding their willingness or partners are not going to hear a message of empowerment through sexuality. I guarantee they will not be celebrating when forced to do a different type of dance.
Maybe I am just getting more conservative in my old age — I would rather see a marching band on the field than bedazzled buttocks on the stage. Regardless, if the NFL is having to resort to selling sex at their halftime show to encourage viewers to stay tuned in, then maybe the network should focus on previewing the on the entertaining and oftentimes excellent commercials, at least they are censured for family viewing.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.