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We Are Not Doing This Anymore (my response to the Super Bowl Halftime show)


The Super Bowl halftime show has created quite a debate. A discussion that is necessary and one I am passionate about. In fact, it’s the basis of “Woman Enough”, my book. So of course I’m going to comment.

Some people are upset, saying the halftime show exploited Shakira and J Lo’s bodies, as women for centuries have fought hard to break free from being seen as a sexual object. Why would they shake their bedazzled privates in our faces like that when we have worked so hard to be seen as equal? This doesn’t help our case and sex isn’t empowerment.

Some people saw the performance as artful and right on par with Latin culture. Given the SB was in Miami, the high energy performance captured the vibe perfectly. Some say the show was empowering. That these women over the age of 40, who are Mamas, who have successful careers and don’t need any extra, showed the world they weren’t hindered by any of those things. Some people didn’t even see it as sexualised at all, but in line with the dances of the culture.

We can go around and around about this. But it’s not really about the halftime show anymore.

What we can’t do, and what I’m seeing a lot of, is women shaming. There’s a lot of talk about a pole on the stage being a new low. That women who use them are disgusting attention seekers. I’m seeing them called whores. I’m seeing women referred to as “objects”.


Who gave us that language?

Do not claim to support women if you do not support every woman. *Every* woman.

Suggesting that what a woman does with her body is any of your business in the first place, is part of the very patriarchal voice that has controlled women from the start.


Take time to ask yourself WHY are you offended?
If you saw the SB performance as sexualised, WHY? Was it the camera angles? Ok then, take a look at who’s behind that.
If you were offended by crotch grabbing, WHY? Does it make you feel unsafe? Is that your work to deal with? Then deal with it. But do not go around shaming other women for what is your work to do.
Were you embarrassed having your teenager watch it with you? Guess what, they know about sex & they absolutely are confused about that AND the porn they saw online at their friend’s house. Talk to them. Use this as a way to offer up wisdom regarding consent!
Are you worried this is giving sexual predators what they want, will make them commit more crimes? Rape and sexual abuse happens every day, multiple times a day no matter where you work, how you dress, what you wear.
Will this make sex trafficking rates higher? Guess what, sex trafficking is happening and there are many more ways to spread awareness about it other than complaining about it on Facebook.

Here’s the thing: Sexual crimes are *not* about sex. Rape, assaults, intimidation are about control. The perpetrator wants to control.

Since the dawn of time, women have been shamed for dancing a certain way, for exposing too much skin, for sounding too sexy, for winking, for flirting… and that is supposed to be reserved for one person only and in the bedroom. Who came up with that? Was this not a narrative a man set in place as a way to control his ‘property’? His ‘objects’?

Women are told not to be sexual. We are told not to like our bodies. We are told that after we have kids, we are nothing. We are supposed to be mothers and follow the rules (whose rules?!) and if you misrepresent, you are cancelled. You’re a slut, you’re a bad mom, you’re worthless.


I saw JLo and Shakira in control of their own bodies on that stage. I saw them taking charge of their routines, their art, their talents, and giving it their all. Without shame.


Let’s have room for all women. Aren’t we in this together? Let’s celebrate the CEOs, the doctors, the policewomen, the housekeepers, the Brown and Black women, the dancers, the Moms, the trans women, and the fluid.

Question the narrative we’ve been taught about how women should be. Leave room for grace and error and stripper poles.


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