Shakira and Jennifer Lopez wowed viewers on Sunday night as they performed the halftime show at the Superbowl. The show, which featured Shakira crowd-surfing, J-Lo pole dancing, a feature from J-Lo’s daughter Emme while Shakira played the drums and J-Lo draped in a Puerto Rican flag, was widely praised as an extraordinary show of Latinx culture.
But not everyone was happy with the performance. Criticism that the performers' costumes and dance moves were too racy has overshadowed the cultural extravaganza. Many viewers commented that the show was not appropriate as family friendly entertainment during halftime.
Many viewers commented that the show was not appropriate as family friendly entertainment during halftime.
One user on Twitter said that the performance showed “young girls that sexual exploitation of women is okay.” Another commented, “I guess pole dancing is part of football now… yikes.” USA Today even published an opinion piece that argued, “To some, the show was a joyful, Miami-infused explosion of dance and high-energy music that got you out of your seat..to others it looked a lot like softcore porn.”
Others pointed out that the criticism appeared to stem from sexist attitudes. Using the halftime performance at last year's Superbowl as an example they demonstrated that criticism of Shakira and J-Lo’s racy outfits and provocative dance moves was hypocritical considering the fact that Adam Levine performed shirtless at the Superbowl in 2019.
One user tweeted, “For everyone who thought J-Lo and Shakira’s outfits were too racy. I give you Adam Levine Super Bowl 2019. Somebody tell that man to put some clothes on!”
Another agreed saying, “So Adam Levine is allowed for [sic] perform shirtless during the halftime show and sexually dance across the stage...but as soon as two confident Latina women do it, with just as much coverage, of [sic] not more, it’s deemed ‘inappropriate’?”
Calling out the racist double standard, another commenter said, “Interesting how the people who think Shakira and J-Lo were inappropriate last night didn’t think that when Adam Levine took off his shirt last year. Can’t q-white put my finger on why they feel that way though.”
And it certainly seems the case that criticism of their halftime show is yet another example of women of colour being held to a much higher standard than their white counterparts. As ESPN reporter, Kris Budden put it, “I’m scrolling through twitter trying to find the outrage over Adam Levine performing with his shirt off last year, and I can’t seem to find it.”
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V