It seems that all anyone can talk about since last week’s Super Bowl is the halftime show performed by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Everything from slut-shaming to diet culture has been brought up in conversation surrounding the event, and I am here today to lay down my two cents.
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Accepting People As Multidimensional Beings
At the end of the day, there will be criticism no matter what. What truly matters is your ability to believe in yourself, think critically, and act in a way that empowers you. Instead of feeling shame surrounding what you do or do not do with your body, I want you to feel the confidence to create a space that feels right for you.
Before you place judgment on J.Lo and Shakira’s halftime show, I encourage you to get thinking and consider different angles other than your own before imposing your viewpoint on those who may be easily impressed. It is up to us to promote a culture of body acceptance without body discrimination, and that can only happen by accepting people as multidimensional beings.
Today I ask the questions necessary to help you navigate the space of having conversations with young women that empowers sexuality in a way that promotes respect from everyone, including yourself.
Are you ready to join in on the discussion? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
On Today’s Episode
- How to acknowledge that you are more than just a body as a woman (10:50)
- Addressing the either-or paradigm of modesty to sluttiness in society (11:32)
- Why you can be an autonomous woman while still being a sexualized being (17:05)
- Comparing white male performance standards to that of this Superbowl (20:43)
- Tips for sitting with the things that make you uncomfortable before judging (27:14)
Resources Mentioned In This Show
“There are all sorts of things about women and how they show up in the world and how we value women and their bodies, and the double standards that exist between different types of women and their bodies, between men and women in their bodies.” (5:55)
“If they were completely covered in what is considered modest clothing, there would still be a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of commentary about their bodies, how they showed up.” (9:29)
“You can explore and express yourself through your clothes, how you actually show up in the world. But that is not the only thing that matters about you.” (15:53)
“We want to teach them to have self-respect, but we also, I get the sense most people want to let their kids be who they are.” (23:27)
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Super Bowl Halftime Show Thoughts w/ Steph Gaudreau FULL TRANSCRIPT
This is episode 270 of harder to kill radio. On this episode, I’m taking a solo look into last week’s halftime show with J-Lo and Shakira. All right, let’s do this. I’m Steph Gaudreau. I help women get stronger, know their worth and take up space without restrictive dieting or exercise as punishment. I’m here to share that you can approach nutrition, fitness, and mindset from a place of nourishment so you begin to trust yourself more deeply. Let’s talk about how to embrace your body and own your power. Now with over two and a half million downloads, this is Harder To Kill Radio.
Thank you so much for tuning into the show today and taking a little bit of time out of your schedule to listen to this podcast. I am really glad you’re here. Thanks so much and if you are enjoying the show, before we jump in, I would love to have you hit the subscribe button on your podcast app. Of course, the podcast is free for you to listen, but when you hit subscribe, what that means is new episodes will pop into your phone every Tuesday and you’ll be able to listen and whatever app is your favorite app. So go ahead and do that. Okay. Today we’re going to be talking about the thing that everybody has been talking about, which is the recent Superbowl halftime show with J-Lo and Shakira and Oh wow. I don’t even know. I mean I have so many thoughts on this and because I exist in this sort of body image, body acceptance, body neutrality space, I really wanted to share some of my thoughts on this halftime show and not just the show in general, but in the response that I’ve been seeing to the show and the discussion that I, well, in a lot of cases it’s not actually been discussion, but a lot of the discussion that I’ve seen raised about this, so I just want to caveat all of this by saying that this is, these are my opinions, this is not going to be a decisive, definitive conversation.
It will not be a perfect conversation. And there are likely viewpoints that I’m not seeing, um, because of how I exist in the world, the privileges I have in the world. And um, you know, for the example of the fact that maybe, you know, I don’t have children of my own for example. So just take that as it may come up for you. Um, if you disagree, that’s okay. We don’t have to be in complete agreement, but I think one of the things I’m going to point out in this episode today is that there is a distinct lack of nuanced and respectful conversation happening around the issues that have been raised having to do with this halftime show. So fair warning on all of that. Before we go any further, I just wanted to mention that in a couple of weeks it’s going to be my birthday and I’ve got something really fun cooking up for that.
So if you’re not on my newsletter, then go ahead and get yourself signed up for that. You can do that at Steph gaudreau.com/connect and I’m going to be sharing that mostly on my newsletter just cause it’s going to be a really timely sort of thing that I’m doing to celebrate my birthday. But I would love to invite you to join that newsletter. So Steph gaudreau.com/connect okay. It is Monday, February 3rd the Superbowl happened yesterday and immediately, immediately there was so much commentary happening about J-Lo and Shakira and their halftime show and what was amazing about it, what was horrible about it and it just brought up a lot of things for me that I felt like I wanted to share with you all. Again, this is my perspective. It is not going to be perfect, but there’s a lot of stuff going on here and I think the one thing that really is bugging me above all else, so if you haven’t seen the halftime show, pause this, go and just Google halftime show 2020 or Superbowl halftime 2020 and you’ll get to see the show.
And I mean I think that’s maybe a good place to start. If you haven’t seen it. But all that aside, I did take a, I don’t have a TV. Okay. We haven’t had a television proper for, I haven’t had one since 2007 and I haven’t had cable since 2007 we still have Netflix. We watch that. But I wasn’t watching it live. So there’s that. But I did go back and watch it this morning cause I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. And I think the one thing that’s bugging me right off the bat is this slut-shaming that’s happening about this. So look, there’s, there are lots of layers of things that have come up in regard to this halftime show. There are all sorts of things about women and how they show up in the world and how we value women in their bodies and the double standards that exist between different types of women and their bodies, between men and women and their bodies between, you know, all of, there’s lots of commentary about the fact that this is great.
It’s, you know, an example of women taking their power back and very empowering to certain women. There’s lots of commentary about how this is not empowering to women. There’s lots of commentary about the double standard between different types of women’s bodies and men and women’s bodies and the cultural and social and racial implications that come along with things like certain types of bodies being on stage and what those bodies are doing and what they’re saying. And it’s just, that’s like having that nuanced discussion about those things and bringing up issues of how are we, how are we talking to our children about this? How are we, I don’t have kids. So fair warning, you know, you know that. So I’m missing a true parental perspective on this. Um, I also know that growing up there were performers like Cher, she’s got that right.
Everybody remembers shares, very, very high cut, very revealing sort of black outfit that she wore on stage. Um, Michael Jackson’s crotch grub cratch grub crotch grabs, wow, crotch grab, which to me J lo was directly imitating that in the halftime show. So there’s like, there’s lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of layers on this. But what I’m seeing is, of course, social media being both wonderful and a pit of humanity is like, I’m seeing an awful lot of like these women are disgusting, they’re slots, they’re whores. And that’s, you know, what they did is completely wrong and they are contributing to the downfall of society and they’re, they’re horrible. And like I said, this is, this is multifaceted, but here’s a couple of things. I don’t have a lot of answers to this, but I do have, you know, there are questions that I have.
So first of all, for my perspective as somebody who works in a community where we’re talking a lot about women’s bodies or talking a lot about diet culture, we’re talking a lot about the judgments placed on certain bodies. I can tell you one thing I know is that no matter, even if J-Lo and Shakira were completely covered from head to toe, they would still have far more negative commentary going on about them. Their performances, you know, their lips sinking, their makeup, their hair, their dance, you know, like their choice of dance moves beyond just the outfits or actual, you know, gestures that they were doing or the fact that J-Lo was on a pole, which, yeah, I mean that’s stuff was all there. But I know this is this, I know that if they were completely covered in what would be considered modest clothing, there would still be a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of commentary about their bodies, how they showed up, how they were wearing too much makeup or their hair was too big or their dance moves were still too sexual or whatever the commentary would happen to be.
And if they were like, so this was brought up by a wonderful friend of mine, um, that the dance moves first for some of the dance moves were hyper-sexualized and it got me thinking, you know, again, Michael Jackson crotch, I keep saying that wrong. Crotch grabs a, in what, the eighties early nineties. I mean, I can think of so many male performers, especially rock and rollers and all sorts of stuff who have a very similar hyper-sexualized style of presenting themselves in their performance art. And yet it is generally not as highly criticized. They’re allowed to be who they are, right? Men are, and this is not, I’m not a man-hater. Okay, so, but let’s just look at this. For the most part, male performers are allowed to embody that part of themselves more than women. And so I understand the conundrum, right? How do we, how do we as women acknowledge that we’re not just a body, right?
How do we step into the fact that we’re not just a body? How do we start teaching girls so that they are more than just a body? They’re more than just an object, like something to be objectified. If we have strong female role models likeJ lo and Shakira who are dressed very provocatively and dancing around very sexually, like how do we teach girls that? And I think how do we teach them to own their worth, to own their value? And I think I’m a particularly interesting example that came up for me is that there’s this either-or paradigm or women are either supposed to be completely like asexual and prude or modest or proper or whatever words you want to use. And if those are your choices for yourself, that’s completely fine. Like you get to choose how you show up in the world.
Um, it’s more the like all women should be at this particular way, um, or else they’re not worthy. So, you know, if they’re not prim, proper, etc, then they’re sluts, whores and skinks. And I think what we’re missing in this conversation is the fact that women SA, okay. Women, people who identify as women, many of them are sexual, sensual, AE erotic beings, some aren’t, some people are asexual. And that’s fine. We also have to remember that. But what we are ending up in is an either-or paradigm, right? Either you’re proper or you’re a whore, either you’re modest or you’re a slut. And I think what we’re missing with young women, with girls is how do we, and I don’t have an answer to this y’all, but how do we navigate this space that eventually we have the conversations with girls, young women, that we are oftentimes sexual beings and, and we are worthy of respect.
And the example that I thought of immediately, and this maybe isn’t your exam, your experience, but I’m sharing my experience here. I went to Catholic school grades K through 12. I was not provided with any, and this isn’t, this is like school, this is family, whatever. It’s like everything. Like as a, as a young woman, um, I was not provided with any other narrative other than, you know, like an abstinence kind of thing. And from my, this is my perspective, my experience, yours may be different, but my experience and perspective was that it was like just don’t, or kind of sweeping the fact that teenagers, young adults, whoever is perhaps becoming a like stepping into their, their sexuality. And I was not, you know, it was like either this or nothing. And I think for me that gave me a huge disservice. That was a huge disservice to me cause I didn’t know what to do with that.
And so what I ended up doing was seeking approval, like seeking worthiness from boys with, you know, from that aspect of sexual attention. And so this is the question that I have and I, again, I don’t have an answer for it, but how do we help girls, young women, young adult women also understand their value and yet acknowledge that they, you know, are first of all bodies change, right? As we get older. So you go from a child into an adolescent and that is accompanied by all sorts of hormonal changes. I mean, whether or not like sex out of the equation, right? I’m talking about sexuality, sensuality, like how do we, how do we have these conversations? And I don’t know the answer to that, but what I’m saying is that either-or, it’s like either you’re this or you’re that. I don’t think that’s actually helping I don’t think that’s helping young women too. And women to make that distinction that you can be sexual. And you are also worthy of respecting and you can explore and express yourself, through your clothes, your choice of whatever, how you actually show up in the world.
But that, that’s not the only thing that matters about you. And I think right now we’re having the either-or conversation a lot and I don’t think it’s moving forward, moving us forward and progressing us because we end up in all these crazy arguments. And then there are also a lot of other layers to this. Like, yes, there was a lot of symbolism in the show. There was a lot of subtle commentary or not so subtle commentary on, um, other issues, other social issues, social justice issues. There was the fact that we had these two very strong, powerful Latino women representing that was amazing. And then also there’s other layers to that. So, um, it was pointed out to me by Latonia Burwell that there were lots of instances of cultural appropriation that took place throughout the performance. And that made me think, I was like, Oh huh. Obviously this is an area where I’m still learning. And so I appreciated hearing that. Right. Um, I don’t think, I think there’s a lot of commentaries that could be taken from this. And you know, um, one of the criticisms that I’ve been hearing is that the way for women to gain their, you know, to take up space and to gain their autonomy, it shouldn’t be hypersexualization. It shouldn’t be showing up in the way that these two performers showed up.
That it actually takes away from what they’re trying to do. That it takes away from us respecting them as multifaceted individuals, performers who are there to entertain. Right. And I, I just, I don’t know exactly how to answer that. I mean, I, again, I think it falls into the either-or paradigm and as somebody who is working and cares a lot about helping women see that there as beauty redefined says more than a body, right? Thereby your, our bodies are instruments, not just ornaments. Um, I know that one of the criticisms that they get a lot, or one of the questions is, you know, how can you say that we’re more than just a body and yet, you know, dress girls in pretty clothes and wear makeup. And do our hair and right. It’s not so simple.
It’s, it’s not so cut and dry. And also I know that when I go out in the world, um, I don’t wear makeup because I think I need to or I had to prove myself or you know, I do it in a lot of ways cause I think it’s fun. I didn’t always wear makeup. I still don’t most of the time. But I do notice a difference. And in fact, I will say I get more positive commentary on my appearance when I’m wearing makeup on Instagram, on Facebook, on social media. And it’s, it’s a really interesting observation, right? It’s an interesting observation about who is valued and what value we place on people and are we making them multi, are we, you know, do we notice that people are in fact multi-dimensional or are we just so stuck on the aesthetic, the appearance and how we look?
And I think again, it’s having that nuanced conversation. The other thing that came to mind is that if J-Lo and Shakira, I’m sure there are people who are like, those women are fat as an insult, which is ludicrous to me. Um, I was like, Holy shit. I mean to be dancing around on a slippery stage in high heels, like whether their lip sinking or not, that was fucking impressive. Like I couldn’t do that major props. But one of the things that struck me, again when we’re boiling this down to like a, a body conversation is that if J-Lo and Shakira or either of them were in larger bodies that they still would have received, right. There still would’ve been criticized if even if they were covered or they weren’t. And so the thing that comes to mind is Lizzo, you know, and then as soon as Lizzo comes out, people don’t pay attention a lot of times to their performance.
And all of a sudden there’s this crazy amount of people being like concerned for her health and wellbeing and that she’s promoting obesity and all this other shit. So you can see how, again, we can’t win. It’s like, no matter how we show up in the world, we’re still getting criticized. Um, you know, black and brown bodies are criticized in ways that are very, very different. Like if Jaylon Shakira were instead replaced with two white female performers or two white male performers, I mean I don’t, uh, really don’t think the conversation would be quite as would be. This would be as similar as it is. Right? Because there are definitely those issues that come into it. I mean, I, Adam, everybody’s bringing up Adam Levine and while I can see that his who stayed closed for much more of his performance last year, I mean there was, there are definitely like his performance was definitely sexual and it may not have been quite as overt with certain gestures or exactly that, the revealing quote, revealing nature of his clothing.
I mean, he was wearing pants, but he ended up shirtless. Um, I found his performance to be pretty sexual. That’s what I got from it. And so I just, I, again, it comes down to, for me to the double standard that we often have an, and also again, the nuance, the conversation. Like are we having the conversation or are we just like their slots and hose and they’re horrible. They’re horrible people. Um, I also do understand the concern that parents especially have or you know, teachers and adults who are supervising kids of, you know, children online now are so more, there’s so much more vulnerable than we were. Okay. I’m like the tail end of gen X. I was born in the 70s, late seventies. We didn’t have self camera phones, cell phones, social media platforms, and yet now kids are exposed to that stuff a lot more. And a lot of it’s super predatory and I completely understand that aspect of it. And again, I don’t have the answer. I don’t know how we’re going to protect our kids from it. But I do know that not having conversations with them about things like how to protect themselves when they’re online or again, the fact that they’re, they are more than a body, but that bodies aren’t bad.
I mean, I don’t even know how to express that properly, but especially as they get older, right? Like we want to teach them to be, to have self-respect, but we also, I get the sense most people want to let their kids be who they are. And so it’s that push-pull, right? It’s that nuance. It’s the thing that can’t be summed up in a soundbite or a meme. And yet that’s what we keep coming back to in terms of like the pundit nature of this of stuff. And I’ve seen some really amazing pieces even coming out since yesterday that have really made me think right and have made me consider different angles of it. But I think what I’d love to urge people to do is before they make that, you know, like their horse kind of judgment is if that’s the reaction is to kind of sit with it a little bit.
And this also reminds me of, and it’s different, but it reminds me of what happens when I use curse words. First of all, this show is at an explicit rating since day one. So it’s almost it coming up on five years. Um, I’m continually a little bit surprised whenever people get really mortified that I’ve used a swear word and I’m like, I guess you’re new here. Sorry. Um, headphones are a good choice, but I get a lot. I get it. Like I get it. If you don’t like swearing, then that’s okay. You don’t have to swear. If you don’t like dressing in a particular way, a way you might think is provocative or too revealing and you want to cover up more, that’s completely okay. Totally. Okay. But judging people, like the criticism I often get is you’d be better at business if you stopped swearing or you are, um, you’re not classy because you swear, um, or that somehow I’m a bad person and I shouldn’t do it. That’s, that’s the thing I get a lot is like you shouldn’t do this. And I, I see a lot of parallels between that, you know? Um, and I think there is something in there too, obviously about how we teach the opposite sex too. You know, like how we have that conversation, for example, with boys and young men and I’m not a boy. I’m not a young man. I’ve never been one. I’m not a parent, I’m not a dad. I don’t know what it’s like to have those conversations. But there is, there’s that aspect of it in there too, which is like we deserve to be respected no matter how we dress, we deserve to be respected.
And the most basic level, even if we use curse words, and if you choose not to do that, that’s great. But we don’t like, there’s this aspect where when I get that criticism, I’m like, you could have unfollowed or unsubscribed or just, you know, gone and just said to yourself, this isn’t for me. I’m going to leave here. But it’s the pro, the proclamation. It’s the projection of the value of like, you’re bad for doing this and now I’m leaving because you didn’t follow what is proper to me. That’s the kind of stuff that I think is not helping us move forward in these kinds of conversations. Discussing the nuance. Sure. But just kind of like virtually slamming the door behind you or knocking all the books off the bookshelf because you didn’t like it and that person’s not following what you think is right is not helping foster discussion if that makes any sense.
And so I guess I don’t have a lot of firm answers here, but what I’m, I think the takeaway of this episode is, is to sit with things that potentially make you uncomfortable and both for lashing out or insisting that your way is right and everybody else is not just wrong, but a really horrible person for what they choose. And humans are judgy. We’re fucking judgy. That’s just we judge. That is what it is. But oftentimes the judgment comes from in, from in us, right? And we can project that outward. But to sit with the judgment and think about it, to consider other perspectives, to see how multifaceted and multi natured this is, to see how there’s rarely one right answer. There is usually a yes and not an either-or. And that either or paradigms only lead to further divisiveness. So that’s my take on it.
As I said, imperfect, lots of layers, lots of nuances, and I think boiling it down to this was horrible or this is completely without any kind of implication is way too simplified of, of a way of looking at it. So there you go. Difficult deep conversations on this Tuesday.
All right. Uh, if you’d love to share your point of view, I would say the best place to do that is in the Core 4 Club on Facebook. This is our closed Facebook group where we discuss things like this and more. So that’s probably the best place to do that. You can get there by going to Facebook and looking for Core 4 Club. And of course, feel free to subscribe to this podcast. Hit the subscribe button on your podcast app. What that means is every Tuesday when the new show comes out, it will be uploaded automatically to your device. And of course, you can get the show notes, including a full transcript of all of the recent episodes. The transcripts don’t go back all the way in the archives. I mean, we’re coming up on 300 episodes here, but at least in the recent past, there are full transcripts of everything, so if you want to take a read at the same time, you’re going to want to find firstname.lastname@example.org all right, stay tuned for next week. I’ll be back with another show and until then, be well!