I wrote this column for a class in February 2020.
The 2020 Super Bowl halftime show caused an unnecessary uproar when Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed.
Many people on social media said Shakira and Lopez over-sexualized and objectified women during their performance, but they were simply showcasing their Latina heritage in Miami, a city known as the capital of Latin America.
Viewers, who criticized the performers, focused too much on Shakira’s hip movements and Lopez’s pole dance routine, so they failed to recognize the cultural influences involved in their performance.
As the first Latinas to headline the Super Bowl halftime show since Gloria Estefan did in 1992, they wanted to be sure they celebrated their backgrounds through a variety of dances including reggaeton, salsa, champeta and mapalé, according to The Washington Post.
“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be, in a way, next to J-Lo representing the Latino community that is such an important force in the United States,” Shakira said in an interview on Shakira Media’s YouTube channel.
Shakira also honored her Arabic roots through belly-dancing and a zaghrouta, the tongue-flicking gesture that was shared all over social media as a meme, which is often used to express joy or celebration, according to USA Today.
“I know that the two of us together are going to bring that special brand of what we do, that maybe people, who haven’t even seen us perform, get to see something special that night,” Lopez said in the same interview.
Some people labeled the performance as obscene and unfit for the most watched program on TV because the dance moves were deemed objectifying to women in front of the 102 million CNN reported were watching.
Twitter user @AUBeard tweeted, “The Super Bowl halftime show was just a bad strip show. We have had so much positive discussion about not treating women like sexual objects, then they go & do this. You can’t cry that women need to be treated better then support this display of sexual objectifying.”
Viewers fail to recognize that Shakira and Lopez had full control of their show. They chose every element that went into it. They had to approve their wardrobe and would have told their choreographers to change the dances if anything made them uncomfortable. They had the freedom to do so because performing is an art form. No one should be offended by how they danced because it is their decision.
Northwest freshman Violet Symens enjoyed watching the show. She said she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the attire or dance moves because the performers have the freedom to make their show whatever they want.
“If you’re a fan of performance and music, you probably enjoy it. I don’t see any reason to push that down,” Symens said. “They have beautiful bodies, they should be proud of them. If they want to show them off, that’s cool.”
Shakira and Lopez put on a fabulous show in their own way. They should be admired for the diversity and athleticism they showcased in their celebration of women and their cultures. They have the freedom to show their bodies as they want. They shouldn’t be judged for doing so if people weren’t as angry when Adam Levine performed shirtless in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.
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