Opinion: Eluding empowerment, the Super Bowl halftime show sent all the wrong messages

Editor’s Note: This is the personal reflection of journalism student Bailey Duran from Super Bowl 54’s halftime show on Feb. 2. 

During the halftime show of the Super Bowl, I experienced an unsettling mixture of disgust, confusion and disappointment. What could have been an epic and even historic performance turned into a glorified strip show.

Many have taken to social media to praise the performance, saying that Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) and Shakira’s performance was the epitome of women’s empowerment. There were others like myself, however, who didn’t see anything empowering about the performance. It was just the opposite.

According to what I saw, our culture isn’t as serious about ending human trafficking and the objectification of women as they say. They don’t care what they’re teaching our children, and they have a distorted view of beauty.

The halftime show was deliberately over-sexualized. The show didn’t focus on the singers or their talent. Instead, it focused almost entirely on their bodies. 

I have met some strong opposition on this opinion. Many people informed me the way J.Lo and Shakira were dancing is part of their culture. True, the style reflects much of Latin culture. I have no problem with that kind of dancing. 

My issue is that Jennifer Lopez was pole dancing with barely anything to cover her body on a national stage in front of millions of people. This gives the impression that the NFL endorses strip clubs and prostitution—or at least saying it’s not that big of a deal.

Studies show wherever the Super Bowl or any other large sporting event is held, human trafficking increases exponentially. According to a recent article by ESPN entitled “The Super Bowl remains target for human trafficking,” the increased amount of visitors in the city leads to a rise in trafficking. 

ESPN also says “criminally organized sex rings will travel from one location to another to meet the demand of large sporting events.” This is a sickening thought. The Super Bowl and the NFL should be making more efforts to reverse this trend. 

Inviting two women on stage to dance inappropriately sends the opposite message. 

This performance also led me to question what we’re teaching our children. I have a seven-year-old sister, and at this age, she’s still learning what is acceptable and what is not. If she would have seen the halftime show, she would have tried to imitate their moves. That’s just how little kids are: they subconsciously mimic older people.  

We are failing as a society if we show our kids that a display like that is not only cool but desirable. It’s showing little girls that it’s okay to dress half-naked and gives them a false idea of what true beauty is. It’s giving little boys a warped view of women and opening the doors to a host of other problems. It encourages both little boys and little girls to find their worth in sexuality.  

Empowerment should not come from dancing half-naked on a pole. If that is what our world thinks empowerment is, we have a long way to go.

Duran is a guest writer. Follow her on Twitter @duran_bailey


  • quit telling women what to do with their bodies it’s quite misogynistic. the fact that you told them that they were being sexual means that you sexually objectified them. stop the sexist slut shaming, i’m tired of it.

    • Misogyny. . . can you even define the word?

      The author of this “opinion column” does not express “hatred or distrust toward women.”

      She expressed her opinion re: the Super Bowl half-time show. She saw it as extremely “sexualized”.

      And for whatever reasons, you did not.

      So, why don’t YOU stop the “thoughtfully written & articulate” shaming?


  • This is 100% truth! The world needs to wake up! Beauty is so much more than how you can dance and what’s on the outside

  • Very insightful. Thanks for sharing Bailey!

  • Jlo came out on the stage wearing a black leather like sex outfit, then she is on a pole with her dancers wearing white strip outfits. Camera angles encourage this thinking. Just not sure where is trying to go with it all. I had 2 14 year old boys saying outloud, this is weird. Then a 10 a year old asking if she should be watching this.

    NO WORDS!! Just pray for our world.

  • I thought the half time show was supposed to be for the family. If I had had children with me the tv would have been off but instead because of my age— I figured this is what a Vegas show for adults only. So mostly shocking. Such a waste because it could have been awesome— not a strip show. Not sorry that I still believe in the beauty of woman. There is still an old saying in the less you show the sexier you be.

  • Thank you for this article — you’ve put into words what a lot of people know is true about recent Super Bowl half-time shows. But since the mainstream culture praises, most people unthinkingly assume they should do the same. This latest show was borderline pornography, even worse perhaps than previous years.
    WE know we are to guard our eyes. Secular parents, even if they choose to watch, must know it’s dangerous and wrong to expose their children to these self-degrading performances that, nevertheless, the prevailing social culture considers the height of entertainment.

  • Ms Duran,

    Your article was on point. I praise you and am proud of what you have written here. I just want to share some things with you to positively edify you in the Lord. From one child of God to another, our family is eternal. Remember the Super Bowl is a secular event and as such their understandings are darkened, hearts hardened, and unrepentant. We do not see Liberty Universities cheerleaders or others dancing half naked around stripper poles because WE seek to honor our Lord and Savior. We are all at varying levels of [Spiritual Walks] with the Lord but the world does not have the Spirit of truth abiding within them and so as one believes one lives. None the less we, the body of Christ, have been called to go out into the world whether in body or in word, like sheep among wolves, and share the hope that is within each one of us. Remember, WE are the lights. Not the world. We are the one’s called to build bridges of hope, peace, and love.

    I just want to remind you of a few things about yourself in Christ. You are a daughter of the KING of KINGS, that makes you a princess , eternal royalty from an ancient royal bloodline, with a heart of a lion, the Lion of Judah, armed with a holy and radiant sword of the spirit , shield of faith, helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, and shoes of peace. Visualize that, for you’re a shining beacon of hope, faith, and eternal love. A warrior princess on the battlefield of death, life, love, light, and LIBERTY! You my sister in Christ are a BIG deal in the eyes and heart of God the Father. Stand strong, stand firm, hold your ground, dig in your shield and trust God has you in hand.

    When you write you send out life or death: Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
    21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.

    … which is to say we reap what we sow which is the fruit of our labor. We know the world is broken as we are all born into sin and ignorance but if we, the body, always choose to point out the countless flaws of the fallen than where is there any incentive or love to come to the foot of the cross? We teach yes, we correct yes, but we do it by abiding in the Holy Spirit. I’ll leave you with two more pieces of God’s word-will. Brackets for emphasis.

    2 Corinthians 10:5-6 English Standard Version (ESV)
    5 We destroy arguments and every [LOFTY OPINION] raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

    2 Timothy 2:24-25 English Standard Version (ESV)
    24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to [EVERYONE], able to teach, [patiently] enduring evil, 25 [correcting] his opponents with [gentleness]. God may perhaps grant them [repentance] leading to a knowledge of the truth,

    Your columns, your writings place you on the battlefield so take up the full armor of God and be prepared for resistance (persecution comes in many shapes and sizes, both seen and unseen). Remember, sis, you are a warrior princess that doesn’t fight with the weapons of the world but with an eternal arsenal: Scripture! Prayer! Praise! and always Worship! … empowered by the creator Himself in spirit. Cast off fear and walk in the boldness of love, hope and faith forever and ever in Jesus name. Amen.

    Praying for you all,
    Much Love, your brother in Christ – the Jewish Messiah.

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