Apparently, God was watching the recent Super Bowl halftime show and disapproved.
More than 100 million people watched the sexy, high-energy show put on by world-famous entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, and afterward a good number of Christians condemned its relatively unbridled, Latin-spiced sensuality.
Lucas Black, an actor who has appeared on the television series Fast & Furious and NCIS: New Orleans, said the erotic dancing of the two stars in the halftime event disrespected God and women simultaneously.
“Protecting your daughter and sons from seeing the display of sexual exploitation at the #SuperBowl halftime show is showing love,” he tweeted, The Blast reported. “We have to teach our younger generation that their value and self-worth comes from what God says is true about them.”
This begs the question (which is certainly not a new one) of why parents are so worried about their children learning about sexuality. After all, it’s a natural behavior that is only immoral if forced upon someone or if people choose to view it in biblical terms as a moral issue, which it’s not. And how is it “exploitation” when a voluntary entertainment by adults is (very well) compensated and uncoerced?
“A lot of this is due to the Judeo-Christian values our society is based on,” Rose Robbins, a psychologist at Ottawa (Canada) Hospital, told Global News in 2018. “There’s a common duality women deal with between the mother figure who’s asexual and the Magdalene who is a sexual being. There’s no equivalent for men.”
In other words, for Christians who subscribe to that tradition view, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is an eternally chaste person (Jesus was conceived via “immaculate conception,” so mythically Mary had not had sex, and she was supposedly without “original sin,” as well), and the other major woman in the prophet’s life was Mary Magdalene, a prostitute he reformed to a life of nun-like chastity.
So, for devout Christians, chastity is the thing, and hip-swinging halftime entertainment romps that glorify sexuality are not.
Both Lopez and Shakira are mothers, which naysayers about their show seemed to feel was a fact that required them to tone things down.
“Offensive? Degrading to women? What did you expect?” sniffed Christian podcaster David Fiorazo in a recent podcast. “It was a predictable Super Bowl halftime show that included a stage full of scantily clad women, practically non-stop exotic dancing, sexual gestures, hip thrusting, booty shaking, crotch grabbing (I’m not even exaggerating), pole dancing, songs many of us didn’t know and lyrics we couldn’t understand.”
That may be how it seems to people who rarely hear pop music outside the bubble of the sanitized, chaste offerings at weekly Christian worship services, and sometimes Christian musicians on tour.
Since the 1960s, American moms increasingly have been doing it all. Today, they are entering the workforce in greater numbers, increasingly as breadwinners, and today women (a lot of them nontraditional-student moms) comprise the majority of students in colleges and universities.
“I Enjoy your acting and love of Bama but don’t think censorship is for everyone,” one woman who disagreed with Lucas Black’s assessment of the show tweeted. “It’s showing them the Latin culture. It was amazing! Two Latina women displaying their language and culture! And reminding the U.S. that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S.!”
“But one thing we moms can’t do yet is be openly, unapologetically sexy,” wrote Danielle Campoamor last week in NBC News’ “Think” feature, pointing out that Lopez’s bringing of her 12-year-old daughter onstage with her during the performance drew specific attacks from viewers.
“The systemic desexualization of women the moment they procreate would be rage-inducing if it wasn’t so predictable,” Campoamor added. “We moms are used to losing this element of our identity immediately after we give birth, and sometimes by the same people who just a year prior found no issue with Adam Levine, a father of two, taking off his shirt and performing half-naked at Super Bowl LIII.” (To be fair, he also spurred complaints.)
It is a continuing reflection of America’s traditional patriarchal — and Christianity-infused — social system that has long sought to control women’s behavior and agency over their bodies.
Female sexual empowerment like that on display in the halftime show even unhinges people like Kanye West — trash-talking, bad-boy rapper Kanye West! — who has said his wife Kim Kardashian West’s “too sexy” appearance after having children was “affecting my soul and my spirit” as he “transitioned” into being a dad for their four kids.
For Lopez, however, speaking after the halftime show at a private gathering, said her performance was all about female empowerment, “to represent women and single moms and working moms and say, ‘This is what you can do.’ … This is what I want to teach my daughters: ‘You can do anything you want to do. … Get loud. Speak up. Stand up for yourself.’”
So, it’s not about what God supposedly thinks but what people do.
“Sex is normal. Moms having sex for the sole purpose of enjoying sex, is normal,” Campoamor concluded in her piece. “Women — just like men — should be able to celebrate all that their bodies can do, whether it be giving birth or twirling around a pole when you’re 50 years of age.”
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