Hundreds of parents who voluntarily permitted their children to watch a bunch of grown men give each other debilitating brain injuries earlier this month have filed FCC complaints—not because of the aforementioned brain injuries, but because of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who put on a very good Super Bowl halftime show.
CNN reports that the FCC received 1,312 complaints about J. Lo and Shakira’s performance, nearly half of which were from parents who claimed it was inappropriate for children. “I had to send my children out of the room so that they weren’t exposed to something they should not have seen,” one complaint read. “The half time show was very sexual in nature. I have never seen so many sex poses outside porn magazines,” another complainant with a presumably rather boring sex life wrote.
J. Lo and Shakira are professional dancers, and during the halftime show, they both did some very good professional dancing. They wore skimpy outfits, I guess, though none were nearly as upsetting as Adam Levine’s outrageous “CALIFORNIA” tattoo at Super Bowl LIII, and at some point J. Lo showed off some of her Hustlers pole skills. Granted, I am in no way a professional child psychologist, but I can only imagine children might be less disturbed by strong (not nude!) female bodies than by football’s display of sheer physical violence.
In fact, if there’s anything I’m concerned about re: the halftime show, based on some of these comments, it’s the messaging parents are imparting upon their daughters, not the performers:
“What are you teaching young girls?” a Wisconsin viewer said. “Dance around half naked to make men excited then claim #MeToo for harassment? It’s ok to be some sexual being and shake your naked rear end and expose your crotch and dance on a pole in front of the world?”
In fact, it is OK to be “some sexual being,” if you would like to, and no one has a right to harass you, no matter how you dance or what you wear. I suppose the FCC does not have a system in place for parents who are deeply misinformed about how consent works, but here we are.
Apparently, MeToo came up quite a few times, as did sex trafficking, which has even less to do with J. Lo and Shakira’s performance:
“This is not appropriate family entertainment as the Super Bowl advertises. It was appalling! And then having young girls join the spectacle,” a Kentucky viewer said. “No wonder there is sex trafficking when you call this family entertainment. And where’s the Me Too women? Do you not see the hypocrisy?”
Some people threatened boycotts:
“I am very offended by the performance of porn on a supposed family occasion,” yet another viewer said. “I will be boycotting the Super Bowl and especially the vulgar half time shows that have progressively gotten worse through the years.”
Indeed, I am not sure what kind of porn these folks are watching that they think it resembles the halftime show:
“I am appalled at how a television network allowed such a disgusting display of the degrading of women and basically a porn show during the hours of family viewing,” a New Jersey viewer said. “This has pushed me to boycott this network and the NFL. Both obviously missed the description of what it is to empower a woman.”
Over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl, according to CNN, so 1312 riled up prudes doesn’t demonstrate overwhelming outrage. But it seems like we haven’t come very far since Janet Jackson’s breast popped out in 2009—and after all that we still had to contend with Levine’s nipples.