Bodies of Work: My Take on Shakira and JLo’s Halftime Performance, Because Why Not?

“Raunchy.”

“She was on a stripper’s pole for God’s sakes.”

“Disgusting.”

“Lopez and Shakira are vile.”

Ladies, ladies, ladies—of Facebook posts my daughter sent me, Tweets I read online, or comments I overheard from teens in my classroom—were you watching the same halftime show that I was?

I mean, seriously. Which of any of you can do what those women did the other night?

First of all, let’s talk about the fact that Shakira celebrated her 43rd birthday Sunday, the same day she performed. I had a heart attack at age 41. I was an anomaly, and it was stress-induced. But still. I couldn’t have done the dancing, shimmying, and singing she did even after cardio rehab! (And if you say lip-syncing, not singing, so what. Have you ever tried either of those in front of 103 million people?)

shakira-super-bowl

And JLo? Well, we were both born the same year. I just turned 51, and she will this summer. That’s right, we’re a half century old. Most women, by this point in their lives, have had their bodies changed by multiple childbirths, illnesses, or even tragedy. I’ve had three children, got mono in my early 40’s, had my gall bladder out, and was involved in a serious car accident that left my body with sixteen fractures, internal bleeding, and the loss of my spleen. My body couldn’t move like JLo did last night, even if it wanted to, not to mention the stamina, energy, and the sheer body control she exhibited, and she’s given birth to twins. Sometimes, I can’t even make it up the stairs to my bedroom without almost teetering over or having to catch my breath. Jennifer Lopez is a powerhouse—the absolute quintessence of a woman. Jlo

Second of all, where are all those negative terms coming from, ladies? Were you expecting any less from a Columbian belly dancing singer who made a song with the title “Hips Don’t Lie” a hit, while the other has garnered Hollywood’s attention for her dynamic portrayal of a stripper in “Hustlers”? Which of course she had to have trained for—did you see her abs?!—to hold her body on that pole. Why not show that off?! She won’t be able to forever, y’know. I can attest to that. She also did so in a respectable way that her daughter could witness, right before she joined the celebration with a bunch of other little impressionable girls. That’s right, JLo’s daughter Emme had her own solo, and she did a fantastic job. I will never believe that JLo intended anything more than to entertain with a message, and that’s just what people are reacting to: women are powerful. She didn’t get to be worth $400 million without being an intelligent and deliberate business woman.

Finally, why are women today all about empowerment and rights and equality, and then decide it doesn’t fit a performance because of costumes and dancing? Come on. That’s about jealousy, right there. Plain and simple. Give credit where credit is due: two beautiful women of Latino descent, who’ve made their names through Latino music, put on a show in Miami, a Latino city known for its heat, nightclubs, flamboyancy, and multi-culturalism, at the Super Bowl, the glitziest, most glamour-filled sporting event in the nation and of the whole year. Their costumes—that’s right costumes: outfits worn for performing, not real life—and dancing echoed it all. (And by the way, those costumes were no different than some I’ve seen on “Dancing with the Stars.”)

RM
My man. You’re welcome.

Would anyone have batted an eye if Ricky Martin, who’s Puerto Rican like JLo, or Enrique Iglesias, who’s from Miami, had performed that same show without a shirt wearing tight leather pants? I doubt it. Besides, Adam Levine did it just last year, see below.

How could you view Shakira’s and JLo’s performances as anything less than empowering for women?

But, I know.

We live in a hypocritical society who’d rather complain and point fingers at others as vile, vulgar, and disgusting, rather than cheer on their talent, athleticism, and discipline. I just don’t get it.

Adam Levine Superbowl
Adam Levine during last year’s Super Bowl halftime performance. You’re welcome.

Some of us wear our bodies out before others do because life deals us each a different hand. But is that any reason to tear apart another’s hard work and abilities? No. Just as I want people to recognize and appreciate what I’ve been through to have this body now, we should also recognize and appreciate others and their stories, celebrating their gifts, skills, and beauty.

Because you can bet your ass (no matter the shape that it’s in) that if I had the body to do what JLo did, had the artistry to do what JLo did, or had the energy to do what JLo did, I’d share it with anyone who wanted to watch. Even at the Super Bowl in front of the entire world. Even if it brought out my haters.

Because we only get one body to live in, and I’d consider myself lucky.

4 thoughts on “Bodies of Work: My Take on Shakira and JLo’s Halftime Performance, Because Why Not?

  1. Excellent piece, Aimee. People can be so damn judgmental as if everything in their lives is perfect. It takes courage to put one’s self out there in the public eye, and I applaud Shakira and Jennifer Lopez for doing just that. You’re also right on to call out the double standard in society about men.

    I have a funny tidbit to share about Jennifer Lopez. One of my former students, a brilliant fifth-grade girl when she crossed my path, went to an Ivy League school to study law. Her dad also happens to be our accountant. Perhaps three years ago or so, I asked him about his daughter and what she was up to these days. He told me about the last thing I’d ever expect to hear—she left the law and became JLo’s nanny. So now, when we go in to get our taxes done, I always ask for an update. As of last year, that was still her gig. Her dad is not some name-dropper egotist, but it’s funny to realize my former student is dealing with J-Lo, Mark Anthony, and Alex Rodriguez. I’m sure that’s about the closest I’ll ever come to any celebrities.

    Liked by 1 person

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