Halftime show praise sends wrong message to youth

Shakira, left, and Jennifer Lopez perform during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

A friend of mine who sits a little more left of the political line than I do (although I’d say we are both stuck in the middle) posted a great quote Monday while trying to digest Sunday’s smut fest disguised as a Super Bowl Halftime show.

It read, “What we accept is what we teach.”

The fact that many American’s accepted the performance Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put on in front of more than 100 million people Sunday – some of which were children, including impressionable young ladies – didn’t sit well with her, a mother of two daughters.

It didn’t sit well with me either, a father of two daughters.

If you didn’t see it you probably heard about it but in case you are living in a third-world country without media it went down like this: The two Latino female music superstars put on a mini concert dressed in tiny tight outfits that basically didn’t cover much in the lower regions of their bodies and spent much of the show grabbing and pointing at and shaking those areas.

While the performance was billed beforehand as a display of female empowerment, it was, in reality, uncomfortably provocative and hypersexual.

It was less “I am woman, hear me roar,” and more, “I am woman and despite all the talent that got me here, I still feel the need to sell myself as an object.”

After Shakira’s third of what seemed like an endless stream of pelvic thrusts into a live network camera (positioned below her waist and pointed up) my 11-year-old son turned and actually threw himself face first into the couch.

I don’t know if that was his first glimpse into the secrets of the female anatomy, but I do know what he saw affected him enough to send him ducking for cover.

By the time Lopez showed up on stage and started grabbing at her nether regions like she was afraid she’d lost her car keys, my 17-year-old daughter turned red in the face.

And finally, when J-Lo – covered in sparkly dental floss - turned her back to the camera, bent over and lifted her moneymaker to the sky like a stripper on a pole in a Motely Crue video, the whole family tapped out.

Welcome to 2020 where shock and awe are sold to us as the norm while modesty, tradition, respect, dignity, faith, and family are pushed aside and frowned upon as the old way of thinking.

On Monday the USA Today declared this year’s Super Bowl half-time show one of the best ever, adding that anything would be better than last year’s show which featured a shirtless Adam Levine and his band Maroon 5.

Reaction on social media after the performance was mixed – as usual. While my inner circle of real-world friends responded much the same way as I did, others on the outskirts weren’t so appalled.

Some declared that being sexy is empowering and if we didn’t like it, we could have turned the channel.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with being sexy if you know. I’m sure Levine thinks he is sexy. Why else would he have ripped off his shirt in front of 100 million people?

Personally, I’m just thankful he didn’t go the way of Jenny from the Block and cover his junk with two rubber bands and some tin foil and then grab at it for 15 minutes.

Levine’s performance last year was nearly universally panned as boring and self-indulgent. I’m guessing he either wasn’t naked enough or didn’t do enough pelvic thrusts, or he didn’t spend the week leading up to his gig proclaiming to be a role model the way Lopez and Shakira did.

"When I think of my daughter, when I think of all the little girls of the world, to be able to have that, to see that - two Latinas doing this in this country, at this time - it's just empowering," Lopez said told some media types before the gig.

Yes, Jennifer, in America opportunity is always waiting to be seized and celebrating diversity is wonderful.

The best part about living here is you’re basically free to be whomever or whatever you want to be.

Like a stripper.

Or you can be Jay Z, the rapper behind such classics as, “99 Problems,” that features a chorus proclaiming that he has many issues but a “bit*h ain’t one.” Not the word I’d use to describe a woman, but to each their own, I guess.

He’s married to superstar singer Beyonce, who once wrote an entire album about Jay Z cheating on her. The album sold pretty good so the couple were able to make a few bucks off of his infidelity.

And Beyonce once put on her own Super Bowl halftime show and if I remember correctly, her display of skin and gyrations in 2013 happened while she was wearing a black one-piece rubber get up that might have been even tighter than J Lo’s.

All acceptable behavior I guess – at least to the powers that be at the National Football League corporate office, who have entered into a partnership with Jay Z, who co-produced Sunday’s R-Rated halftime disaster.

Of course, like my friend’s daughter said to her when she questioned the teenager about the show, “that’s just the way it is these days.”

Sure is, sadly.

From J Lo and Shakira’s risqué dance moves to a president who brags about grabbing women by the same spot the two singers felt the need to highlight Sunday night, we turn a blind eye to the damage these words and images do to our young people and blindly justify the actions depending on which side we are on.

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