The female body has always been something society views as taboo. In the past, it was evident in the strict concealment of collarbones and ankles. Even now, in the 21st century, these prudish restrictions on women linger within the remarks about female performers.
Judging women for the way they choose to present themselves is antiquated. Some may believe they are advocating on behalf of women by demanding more modesty. This side argues that women are exposing themselves to be objectified when dressed scantily. Yet it is precisely because of the way women’s bodies have been used to justify harassment that it is all the more important that women have the opportunity to put themselves on stages.
Hiding women’s bodies under heavy clothing keeps them captive to the rules and standards of their oppressors. When women get on a stage dressed in the clothes and performing the dances they have chosen for themselves, they are reclaiming power over their own bodies.
Critics said the Superbowl halftime performance by J.Lo and Shakira was too scandalous. Phil Mushnick, a columnist for the New York Post, described the show as “highly inappropriate, female-objectifying.”
“Sunday’s halftime, by design, objectified women as hot, barely dressed, crotch- and rear-end-thrusting, unescorted boobs-bobbing sex kittens,” Mushnick said.
J.Lo and Shakira, ages 50 and 43 respectively, danced with the vivacity of the athletes on the field in their prime. These women have trained consistently to stay in shape and maintain their ability to perform as they did at the halftime show.
Reducing J.Lo and Shakira’s performance to simply a flaunt of their bodies neglects to recognize the incredible display of their abilities and hard work. Their dances, while involving hip-shaking and pole dancing, are technically very difficult to do well. A woman dancing is a display of skill and strength [not to mention, it was done while also singing]. The ability for two Latinx women to draw 103 million total viewers on Fox, according to Variety, is a testament to the fact that people enjoy this form of entertainment.
Our society has come far enough to recognize that a woman’s ability to have autonomy over how much and the manner in which her body is displayed is a beauty in itself. Let women have control over the form in which they inhabit.