I had to go on Youtube and watch the halftime show before writing this post. With multiple children and teenagers in the house, I have not watched the Super Bowl halftime show in years! And while I had seen clips and pretty much knew the gist of what happened, I didn’t want to comment without seeing it myself and forming my own opinion. Honestly, I’m thankful I did.
I had not planned to comment at all… Heaven knows there are plenty of opinions floating around out there in the social media world already! Who needs one more?
My girls, that’s who.
And that’s why I’m thankful for the Super Bowl Half-time show.
So, I will start with what I enjoyed about it. I think Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were great choices to perform in Miami. I understand they were chosen to represent the strong Latin-American population in that area, which makes perfect sense. They are both extremely talented dancers and singers, and their following is huge. It was a great choice!
- I enjoyed the Latin-flavored dance segments, especially with the men. It was a nice throwback to traditional Latin culture; the music was upbeat and the moves were so fun!
- Having two teenage daughters who spent many years in dance class and are currently involved in musical theatre, I have a great appreciation for these two women’s ability to dance. Man, can they move! I almost threw my back out just watching them!
- Their voices are beautiful. Lip Syncing or not, they are both extremely talented singers. I wouldn’t have been able to breathe after about 20 seconds, let alone sing, so no judgement from me!
- The set and projections were incredible. I barely even noticed things like lighting before I met my friend, Will (who is a lighting genius!), but this was impossible to miss. That stage was on fi-ya!
- I loved hearing J-lo’s daughter and the other young girls sing. I am a sucker for a mother-daughter combo! And their dresses were beautiful.
Hopefully it’s clear at this point that I am not a racist, nor am I merely a party-pooper or a party-liner. At the same time, I am also not someone who was looking forward to a family-friendly event and ended up shocked by the risqué content. I did not initially watch it because I did not expect it to be family friendly. Which, of course, was the case.
So why in the world am I thankful for the Half-Time Show?
Because it is a great opportunity to start a conversation on some difficult, yet extremely important, topics with our children.
You see, while there were some beautiful and powerful elements to that half-time show, it is apparent (based on the social media storm) that they were very much diminished by the hyper-sexualized nature of the show.
The unique flavor of the culture and talented dancers were overshadowed by the pole dancing, crotch-grabbing, and twerking.
The beauty of theses amazing artists was shifted onto their disappearing wardrobe rather than their eyes and smile.
And any political statement they may have been trying to make vanished along with said wardrobe.
While their intent may have simply been to give everyone a good time, instead they communicated a much more powerful (and in my opinion, harmful) message to their national audience, and to young girls in particular… Especially all the young, Latino girls looking to them as role models.
Regardless of what they say, that message was not, “Women are strong! Women are powerful!”
Instead, the message was, “It doesn’t matter how strong, smart, beautiful, or talented you are; the best way to get attention and power as a woman is to show off your body and make people want you. Sexy is powerful!”
I cannot tell you how sad this makes my momma heart.
It reminds me of two summers ago when we spent a week serving Hispanic immigrants with a small, rural mission church in North Carolina. The pastor told us one of the most difficult issues they faced in breaking the cycle of poverty in their community was the cultural view of teenage sexuality. Apparently, around the age of 14, the teen girls set their hearts on getting pregnant- that way, they could get married and find security in a family of their own. They didn’t realize those actions were trapping them all in extreme poverty with low-paying jobs and no education, among other things. They were simply following the example of those who had gone before them. They heard the message loud and clear: “The best way to get attention and power is to show off your body and make people want you. Sexy is powerful!”
Except when it isn’t.
I wish I could gather up every young girl in America, sit them in my living room, and convince them that they are more than the sum of their “parts”. It grieves me to watch so many young girls buying the lie that they have no value apart from their bodies!
Unfortunately, my living room is not that big, and my influence is even smaller. So here are the conversations I will continue having with my own daughters, praying they will impact others as they live out these truths:
- You are more than the sum of your “parts”. Who you are on the inside is vastly more important and lasting than who you are on the outside. (For years, Jeff has explained to them that most people will focus on their “frosting”- their looks, body, and talents, when what really matters is what’s on the inside- their “cake”) Girls, if your cake is amazing, people quickly look past your frosting!
- Your worth and value are found in being loved by God and created for a purpose, not in what you look like or what others think of you. Resist the urge to sell yourself out to a lesser bidder.
- Your power comes from standing in Truth and being a Light. Showing off your body and looking “sexy” gains you attention, not power. Those are two very different things.
- There is nothing wrong with wearing clothes and make-up that make you feel beautiful! But make-up and clothing should accentuate your beauty, not detract from it or draw attention elsewhere. You want people walking away thinking about your kindness, your smile, your laugh- not your body parts.
- If you want people to respect you, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of respect. This includes how you present yourself on Instagram and Tik-Tok (and apparently at the half-time show of the Super Bowl).
- What you do impacts other people. You do not get to choose whether or not you influence people, only HOW you influence them. People will pay more attention to what you do than what you say, so choose your messages carefully. If you truly seek to follow Jesus and walk in His ways, you won’t have to worry about the message- it will take care of itself.
- You will get it wrong sometimes, and that’s okay! We all mess up. Mistakes are part of growing up; they are how we learn our best lessons. It’s how you respond to those mistakes that matters. Run to Jesus, no matter what, and know that we will always have your back.
- You are loved! Completely, unconditionally, immeasurably more than you can think or imagine, by us and even more so by God. Nothing will ever change that! Read Romans 8:38-39.
Our 9 year old boy is still pretty clueless, but I was thankful to use this as an opportunity to also talk to our 11 year old son about one day choosing a girl for what’s on the inside, not the outside. His older sister promptly gave him this motto: “Unless you work in the Publix bakery, I don’t want to see your frosting!” Gotta love big sisters! In any case, don’t forget to talk to your boys as well!
Friends, these conversations are so very important. And they are much more impactful when applied to real life situations! It helps to have an example with skin on (or in this case, lots of skin, and stripper poles, too!) to bring these truths to life. Don’t miss this blessing in disguise!
And for that reason, I am thankful for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Jeff Allinder says
We watched the show live, and we talked with our kids about it. I think we hit the same general things, though I certainly didn’t appreciate the artistic portion of it as much as you did, because I frankly am not a very artsy person. Theater is one thing, but the musicals, dance class, and such is just not a part of our family life. But thanks for affirmation of that piece – always good to have additional perspective.
But the part of this that’s the best for me is your bullet list. The differentiation between ATTENTION and POWER is a great way to articulate what I hadn’t found words for. Secondly, the reminder that influence is a given and HOW is the question. I think young women are especially susceptible to feeling hidden or powerless or insignificant, and there are easy ways to get attention and be able to “influence.” I love how you’ve differentiated these things so explicitly. And I fully intend to plagiarize this – I might even share this entire blog with Reagan and then speak with her about the key points. She’s old enough (12 for anyone that doesn’t know us) to understand this, and I think your words will connect with her over and above how I could do it with my words.
Love the practicality and actionability of your words today, ma’am.
Wait, you’re not an artsy person? I’m shocked. Haha!
So glad you found it helpful. You’re right, Reagan is the perfect age for these kinds of conversations! Thanks for your encouragement and feedback.