J.Lo’s Daughter is not for sale – yet.

J.Lo’s Daughter is not for sale — yet.

I live in a screen-free family.  Mostly. I’m typing on a screen right now. But for the most part, we live screen-free lives. I knew there was a Super Bowl on television last night, but I did not watch it. My husband and I were asleep before 9 pm.  But when I woke up this morning and checked my social media feeds (again, a necessary screened part of my life as an author), I was amazed at the chatter over the Super Bowl halftime show.  So, I sat down with my coffee and pulled it up on YouTube. I figured as an ex-pole dance instructor, as a woman, as a Christian and as a mother to two preteen boys who might have been watching the show while at their dad’s for the weekend, I could give my honest feedback.  So here it is.  At least J.Lo’s daughter is not for sale — yet.

I know this is harsh.  But this was my final thought as the act closed with this sweet girl singing with her angelic voice. At least she’s not being advertised for sale — yet. But in this environment, where we consume this type of media, how long will it be before it is considered tasteful for this little girl, this attractive young woman with a likely unlimited potential to create change in this world, to be offered up like a slab of meat to the world as merely a sexual object?

J.Lo’s Daughter is not for sale — yet.

Because that is really my review of this show.  I will get into a play by play of the show in a moment, but my overall feeling is that J.Lo and Shakira, amazing, intelligent, beautiful and talented women in their own right are being offered up on an altar to be consumed by us.  Their flesh is simply some sort of appetizer to titillate our senses and get us hungry for more of the Super Bowl sponsors’ products.

Both women wore outfits covered in jewels, their hair perfectly coiffed, makeup flawless.  They looked like queens, and I will volunteer that they are. Beautiful image bearers of our Most High God and their gorgeous figures were meant for so much more than this. They are not for sale. And we should not be buying.

If you don’t know me, let me introduce myself to you.  I am Julie Christian, and until recently, I was a pole dance instructor. I loved it. Loved. Loved. Loved it.  I enjoyed teaching women to love their bodies, and to appreciate the jiggle of a well-placed piece of body fat.  I loved watching them see themselves in the mirror accomplishing a move that they assumed they could never do.  I loved witnessing their self-confidence bloom in front of me while they supported one another in a class full of other women who have been told their whole lives that they are not as beautiful as J.Lo or Shakira.  That only those women are worth adoration and that normal bodies with cellulite and stretch marks are not worthy of desire.

But then, the business began to grow.  And young women from the college nearby began coming into the studio. I taught classes of young twenty-somethings how to climb and do beginner moves like J.Lo did in her Super Bowl show.  And these young ladies, all gorgeous and talented, would snap photos of themselves in these moves. I would see them all over Instagram and wondered what the world would do with their images.

I felt like a protector of those women. I mean, I taught them how to do that layback, and wasn’t I at least a little bit responsible that they were texting it out to some guy who would share it with his friends as if it had no value – as if she were some object and not a human being?  For this and many other reasons, I stepped down from my job as a pole instructor, to focus on other things.  But those girls remain fresh in my mind, even now, as I wonder why it is that women’s bodies are for sale in this society.  But J.Lo’s daughter is not for sale — yet.

Here is my point by point review of the show:

  • The show opens with Shakira and I’m thinking, “Wow, this isn’t so bad. She looks darling. Why is everyone complaining?”
  • Her outfit is super cute and she’s wearing more than high school cheerleaders wear. Her choreography is tasteful enough. Not sure what all the fuss is about.
  • Song change: there are beautiful female string players, and they are draped in all black. This isn’t bad.
  • Another song change: Shakira is playing the guitar and I realize that she’s quite talented. And beautiful.
  • Song change: Wait, where did Shakira’s clothes go? And why is she dancing with a rope? What artistic value does a rope add to this number? Why is bondage now Super Bowl friendly? She throws the rope on the ground and I’m thinking, “Someone is going to trip on that.”
  • Song Change: It looks like she took something else off, and now she’s writhing on the floor. Wait, did she trip on the rope? Now there is a man on the stage with her. He is wearing a knee-length jacket, shirt, pants, sneakers, and even a head wrap.  Does it bother ANYONE that his body is completely covered, suggesting he is NOT for sale while her body is offered up to the viewers as a teaser for J.Lo’s performance that I know is coming?
  • I realize that the man is wearing a cross. I wonder if he wore that for a reason. I’d be interested to know.
  • Her Hips Don’t Lie: I really love the music, it is catchy, and Shakira is a talented performer. She’s adorable, but I feel bad that she’s appreciated for her body and her femininity that has to be given away, while the man gets to perform without every curve of his body being shown to the world for their absent-minded evaluation over chips and dip.
  • J.Lo makes her grand entrance: She’s on what looks like a model of the Empire State Building in Miami. I guess she’s representing that she’s Jenny from the block. Okay. Cute, but already the tone of the entire performance got darker with the bondage-inspired black leather. I’m okay with it, I’m not a fuddy-duddy, but I’m starting to get uncomfortable hoping that my boys weren’t watching this while at their dad’s. I’m hoping Dad would have switched it off well before now.
  • Umm, I just saw her butt with a simulated black leather thong and glitter undies. If you ever took a pole class with me, you know I like glitter undies and rear ends, but they are not for sale, and for private viewing only. I’m uncomfortable. J.Lo is gorgeous, but I’m thinking of her as a daughter, mother, artist, and businesswoman and I think she’s better than this. I don’t like that she’s force-selling me her image and sexuality, I’d rather appreciate a performance based on excellent choreography, artistry and talent.
  • Some men are on the stage: not really sure what they are wearing, but some of their skin is out. J.Lo is grabbing her crotch and she just slid down the stage presenting her crotch to the camera while the men dance in the background. How does she explain this to her fiancé and her kids? It’s just business? She’s better than this, and I know she’s filthy rich and has a great life, but I feel bad for her and the many women and young girls who think THIS is how you get people to appreciate you.
  • The poles come out: Okay, stage poles have been set up, as well as poles all around the circumference of the stage. The camera focuses on J.Lo, who does a few beginner moves on a silicone wrapped pole. As far as skill and talent as a pole athlete, she has none and likely should not present herself as a pole artist. As a former pole instructor, my eye is drawn to the athletes at the circumference of the stage who have some real skill and athleticism. But they aren’t selling sex, so the camera zooms in on J.Lo and I can’t see them.
  • Wow— the stage is gorgeous. My next thought, I hope my boys are not watching this.
  • More men come out: Why do the men get to wear so many clothes? I’m so angry. Why doesn’t intelligent J.Lo (because I do believe that this woman is smart) not seethe at the thought that her gorgeous body is the only one required to be on display? What would happen if she showed up and did the same act in a black bodysuit without the crotch-grabbing and flanks presentation?
  • Now the man in full-coverage clothing is allowed to spank J.Lo front and center on camera. I hope my boys aren’t watching.
  • What does Alex Rodriguez think of this? We graduated from the same Christian high school and I wonder if he’s moved that far from his roots that this doesn’t make him feel just a tiny bit uncomfortable.
  • J.Lo’s sweet young daughter comes out. Thank God, J.Lo’s daughter is not for sale — yet. The kids are singing, and I feel like I can breathe. I worry that they are going to rip their skirts off in a minute during a song change, but everything is okay. Because J.Lo is a good mom, and she doesn’t want her daughter’s butt to be auctioned off to the highest bidder on national television.  I’m sorry if this is frank, but why, J.Lo, is your daughter more valuable than you?  You’re gorgeous, intelligent, talented and obviously a hard worker.  Why don’t you deserve the same respect as your daughter?  I want to cover J.Lo up in front of her daughter, but she’s already done it with a feathery Puerto Rican flag while Born in the U.S.A. plays.  My mind switches to the American Dirt fiasco and I think, “I bet J.Lo already read that book.”  This is when I realize that J.Lo is a clever businesswoman. She’s sharp.  But she’s been sold a lie. All of these women have.  And they bought it up with their glitter thongs and push up bras. I bought it too.  I remember thinking that if I could present my body in a way that impressed men, or a man, then I too would deserve love.  J.Lo just does it on a massive scale — for money. But what she’s doing is no different than what I did when I was single, and what I taught young women to do when I taught pole dance…regretfully.

As a society, we have prioritized a woman’s value. Yes, women can be business owners, candidates for political office, judges, doctors, peacemakers. But they will always be objects of desire FIRST. And if their butts don’t shine like the surface of a golden calf, they aren’t worthy of adoration. 

And that’s simply not true. All women are made in the image of God and therefore, all women are beautiful. Just like all men, who are also made in the image of God. But somewhere along the way, someone decided that women are only worthy if they are gorgeous. So intelligent women like J.Lo offer themselves up for public viewing. “See? I’m pretty. I’m worthy of your respect. And I’m talented, too.”

Let’s stop this now. Let’s stop valuing women first on their physical appearance and then on their gifts. Let’s stop supporting shows like this. Let’s educate our young men on why they should not watch performances such as this.  Have them imagine their mothers, grandmothers or future daughters on the same stage.

J.Lo’s daughter is not for sale — yet.  Even the intelligent businesswoman, J.Lo, would not put her daughter in the same outfit she wore, and offer her up for public consumption on the same stage that she stood. And I applaud her for that.  But really, how many more years till that does happen?  How many more years until young girls are told that they must present their bodies to the world for its evaluation and subsequent consumption?  I’ll tell you, it’s already happening.  Scroll through your Instagram feed.  Your friend’s daughters are posting pictures of their young faces, with pouty lips and fingernails, while their same age sons are still allowed to be little boys with skinned knees and dirty faces.

Our daughters are being sexualized, made to believe that what’s on the outside is the most important, while our young boys are being told to groom the things on the inside, their intelligence, their skills so that they can earn enough money to impress a beautiful girl.

This is not the story that I want to tell my children.

I love women, and I think they are gorgeous. Every woman has inside her the fierce, sexy intensity of J.Lo and Shakira. Our sexuality and sensuality are precious gifts given to us by God and meant for something more than a public auction.  Please, ladies, realize this.  Notice this. Hear me. J.Lo’s daughter is not for sale — yet. But only we can stop the auction from happening.

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 

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  1. I think the reason J.Lo and Shakira did this —with her daughter and the other girls—was not to sell themselves like prostitutes. I think they wanted to inspire women to be empowered, fierce. And for whatever reason, we have taught them sex is the way to be empowered, fierce. Makes me sad.

    • Thanks, Voni. I agree. I don’t believe that either artist had any bad intentions. They are simply performing. But the content of the performances have consequences that ripple throughout our culture. It is very concerning to me that what they believe is empowering is imprisoning women.

  2. Patrice Doten February 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm · · Reply

    Beautifully said! You perfectly articulated my own dismay and sorrow over that halftime display.

  3. I posted on my fb feed last night how upset I was about the show. I was slayed by my friends, most of whom I know to be Christians. Thank you for writing this. I feel better knowing I’m not alone.

  4. I really appreciate your words. You aren’t prudish, but you have a moral backbone and a discerning mind to see and articulate the paradox of female empowerment. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Geri. I love all women, including these performers. I’m sad that the world would think that I’m jealous or seeking to shame them for their performance or choices. Especially when I’ve made the same choices (on a way smaller scale). Oh well, I hope that someday they re-read the article and see that it was penned out of love for them and ALL of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

  5. The anount of stress I carried around trying to be like the entertainers we see daily on the screen was more than a burden. It was life stopping. Always trying to get the attention of men and, I found, it came easily when facebook grew and I posted certain things. Not even provocative things. Just me being me as a single, fit, young woman. Now, my posts are less frequent and I’m with my family. Still the same me! I haven’t changed much and am only a couple years older. But all that attention from men, the likes and the nice comments, gone. Boy do I feel better! I love this time in my life and I wouldn’t go back if given the choice.

    Women are sold on this idea of “selling” their bodies because it works. Look at the attention these two women are getting, from men and women. If they use it for the good of the less fortunate, great! But how many will see that behind the scenes? We are the frogs in the pot of water, unnoticing as the temperature increases, unaware that the heat is deadly. Our culture continues toward provocative. Remember Michael Jackson? Key leader in historic crotch grabbing. Although he wasn’t mostly naked at the time as many of the female entertainers are when they choose that dance move. Yet he got attention! He got lots of attention. Fully clothed. The crazy thing is, so would J.Lo and Shakira. On that stage, in that arena, they are going to get attention! Unavoidable. So why take it to such extremes? Why push the envelope?
    Why not? Right? Because they can. Because it’s accepted, desired and even applauded.
    So, thank you Julie. For this article and unique perspective. And for the idea that we put ourselves out for sale not knowing the ripple effect to those around us and even in our own souls. And that it is a choice. We were created, by God, for more. We are the crown of creation. With or without the attention from “men”.

    • Thank you, Kristen. You absolutely get what I’m trying to say. The ripple effect seen 10, 20 and more years after this choice is what I’m worried about. I saw it yesterday in my kids, and I’m certain if you know a fifth-grade teacher, you can poll him or her for stories. These women are strong and amazing. I will not take away from their talent with my comments. But I see what is ahead as a result of these choices and I am concerned. And kudos to you on changing your social media perspective. I get that, too. I want to build my platform as an author and have been tempted many times to post things that I shouldn’t because I know the numbers will grow rapidly with certain types of content. But there was always that prick in my spirit that I could not get past. Thank you, again for your support and words of encouragement.

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