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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Tadross

Shakira and J Lo Didn't Cross the Line- Adam Levine Did

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Something at the 54th Super Bowl, aside from a Chiefs win, incited an army of mixed opinions: the half-time show.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira starred as the first all-female Latina headliners at the Super Bowl half-time show. However, their clothing and dancing caused many parents, feminists, and opponents of feminism to take to the internet with their differing opinions.

USA Today Reporter Gil Smart, wrote, “We let my 9-year-old son stay up and watch, thinking — hey, it's the Super Bowl, so long as we're not talking another Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction," how bad can it be? Less than a third of the way through my wife started saying, ‘Ummmm ... ‘“ Although thinking it was okay for J Lo and Shakira to put on such a performance, he believed that there should have been a sort of “trigger warning.” Others expressed that this could set a negative precedent for future generations. Will young boys and girls think they should act like these performers? Smart expressed that this could be a slippery slope from stripper poles to strippers becoming a norm on television.

Similarly, many feminists expressed that what was supposed to be a celebration of Latina heritage and female empowerment became an oversexualized performance. In the Washington Examiner, Madeline Fry wrote about the show, “It is the opposite of feminism to teach young girls to look up to icons who act like strippers. That's not empowerment. It's self-objectification.” But this, too, begs the question of whether telling women to not “objectify” themselves is just another form of sexism, as it tells women what they ought to do. Those who are not feminists have taken a similar stance, believing that this performance was inappropriate and a representation of “taking feminism too far.”

Regardless of representations in the media, the most important thing is that we treat all men and women with respect. Our ability to work towards equality in education, the workplace, and our lives, is not affected by the Super Bowl half-time show. It is irrelevant what “norm” J Lo and Shakira are setting by performing in this way, because we are not going to stop them by judging them. What is relevant is the norm we set by how we view them. Spending time judging these women is only contributing to the double-standard between men and women, and will not stop any entertainer from doing what he or she would like. Last year, Adam Levine did not face any large backlash when he took his shirt off in the Super Bowl half-time show, and neither of these women took her shirt off.

So maybe we can set a precedent by not judging J Lo and Shakira for things that men often do with impunity.

At the Bipartisan Feminist Project, we look to explore the partisan bias in modern issues, so we can create a productive dialogue in which all can express their views equally- a main goal of feminism.

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