The Super Bowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira was a catalyst of conversation on social media.
There were two distinct parties: Camp Shame or Camp Support.
Normally, I stay out of online discussions because they can be draining, and it’s often a lose-lose situation, but I briefly got into it as a representative of Team Shakira and J.Lo.
While I eventually stopped engaging, hours later I found myself unable to sleep because my mind was racing around the controversy. How are women shaming and judging these other two women? Why was their performance igniting such a controversy? What was truly at the heart of the matter? Why did I care so much about something that technically didn’t have anything to do with me as a spectator?
It was nearly midnight and I realized the only way to get any sleep would be to write myself through to the other side. I just needed to get the swirling thoughts out of my head. Maybe I’d find my way to the answer and more importantly, sleep.
It started off with initially b*tching about the interaction, and then it hit me: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s performance and the reaction was the perfect example of the challenges women face as they live more in their embodiment—the full expression of their femininity and masculinity, the integration of spirit in the body, and the uninhibited, authentic expression of it all, wholly and unapologetically.
Those in Camp Support, who have been doing the inner work, were awake to receive the call that the dynamic duo were making. Their response was to stand up to the shamers, clearing up any false links between attire and consent, calling out racism, and explaining pole dancing—and the list continues to grow.
Those in Camp Shame, who have yet to awaken and leave the comfort of their patriarchal zones, were triggered. Their response included focusing on their age, on their perceived lack of clothing (did they forget what the cheerleaders wear?), the sexy dance moves (including the pole), and that the entire experience was inappropriate for kids. They were finding any way possible for the performance to be bad or wrong.
As a woman championing other women, here’s what we can learn from the Super Bowl halftime show.
Wisdom of experience opens doors. Both women together have over 60 years of experience in the industry. All the hard work, sacrifice, and learning created opportunities to live their dreams and then some. It requires the practice and integration of living in both our inner divine masculine (strategy, strength, action) and divine feminine (intuition, receiving, emotion)—together making an inner power couple that creates more for all. And it’s not just about these women individually and their respective inner power couples, but the whole team of people who support them using their creative talents and gifts. The opportunity ripples deep and beyond what we see.
How many years have you been taking risks in following your dreams? What’s the status of your inner power couple? Do you favor or listen to one more than the other? Are you part of a supportive team?
Femininity displayed. We are comfortable with controlled versions of femininity—as long as it’s within our acceptable threshold, which can look different for everyone. Times are changing, and this is an opportunity to re-evaluate if our beliefs are suppressing or supporting the feminine (but really all people). Are you controlling another because of your inability to handle your discomfort (which is yours to address) or are you contributing to the freedom of a person expressing themselves?
Power inside out. I’ve never been a fan of “fake it until you make it.” The facade can easily come tumbling down with a single insult. To stand and command a global stage requires an unwavering power that comes from within. These women have it in spades in their connection and coordination in their bodies. They’ve created a durable infrastructure they can easily tap into and easily rebuild. When was the last time you truly embodied that power from the inside out, not the outside in?
Authentic style and message. It’s not just the entertainment but the truth of their artistry we are connected to. These women are honest in their whole expression, inside and out. The message in their lyrics, how the music carries it along, and how they express it through their voice resonates in a deep way. We instinctively know and feel their truth: they are loving, good at the core, and can stand alone without harm to anyone. They are allowing us to truly see them. What a privilege. How often are you living authentically without hiding any aspect of yourself? Are your thoughts and actions aligned?
Sensual signature. We all have, what I call, that embodied “tell.” It’s the one or two things that we do that is unique to each of us. It’s the pure essence of you, expressed in a moment. Nobody else does that thing like you. When Shakira starts moving her hips, we’re entranced—not just at the movement, but the pure joy of allowing her body to fully express her spirit. Jennifer Lopez’s wide stance, head bounce, look to the side, and then to the audience is a powerful starting place in her movement. We’ve come to know and love these signature moves. They are undeniably present in their body, and who isn’t seduced into the fun?!
Think of those closest to you, and I’m sure you can easily identify theirs. What’s your sensual signature or embodied tell? Please do more of that. And if you don’t know, please ask someone.
Sisterhood. One is a lonely number. Two heads are better than one. Our culture likes competition and drama for entertainment, so we create unnecessary friction. We like one winner so they pit one woman against another, because “there’s only room for one at the top.” Prior to the Super Bowl, there was controversy that Jennifer Lopez could have headlined alone. Who determined this? Let’s share the load to work smarter, better, and faster—together! Win-win all around.
They shared the stage. The spotlight could shine equally on each of them. They are paving the way and showing us by example. Bonus: Jennifer shared the stage with her daughter, Emme. It starts early.
When was the last time you invited another women to share and shine? When were you invited by another woman to work as equals?
Redefining and Rewriting. For a long time, there’s been an expiration date for women. At a certain point or stage, we can’t or “shouldn’t” do X, Y, or Z. Shakira is 43. Jennifer Lopez is 50. Under previous generational rules, they likely should have been wearing more conservative clothing, leaving the dance moves for the back-up dancers, or not performed at all and left it for someone younger.
There are plenty of women who are a fraction or half their age (or truly any age) who are now rethinking what is possible. Age is no longer a limitation or opportunity to shame, but a badge of honor of achievement.
As artists, they are constantly evolving and growing with the times. It’s not only to stay relevant but to align with the women they are becoming. Are you evolving too? Where are you doing things to follow the rules? What “rules” are you breaking to align more with who you truly are?
Backlash. Post halftime, I witnessed two camps. The first camp of women absolutely loved the show, could appreciate it on the surface, and understood the significance of the show for our current times. The second camp of women shared their own negative comments or hid behind their spouse or child’s comments. (I’m not even going to touch the messages we’re teaching children and how that ripples out into the world.) Even among women as a collective, we couldn’t agree! It seems like a battle between progress for all women and the fear of change.
This backlash is proof that living as a woman—fully embodied expressing her truth—is not easy for any woman. It takes serious courage! The patriarchy within some women runs deep. Until we individually are willing to take personal responsibility and ownership for our own suppression and that of others, we need more women like Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to keep paving the way in their respective areas and shining the light for all of us.
They aren’t going anywhere. They will only rise further because of their decades in the business and sense of self.
The truth is: as women, we’ve been in both camps at some point in our lives.
Think of all of the groups and cliques you’ve been in. While you’ve been supporting another, someone has been shaming you. It’s the way it’s been. We accept it. But do we need to?
No matter which camp you currently belong to in this situation, we have a choice to make as women. We have more similarities than differences. Why can’t that be a bridge to connect? If there’s a woman in your life who seems to have figured out that thing that puzzles you, ask if she’d be willing to share how she does it. She’s likely only a few steps ahead of you and figuring it out herself!
While I may never have my own halftime show, every day, I take the courageous risk to fully embody who I am. I believe every single woman is trying her best and there’s room for more of her expression. How can you apply this list into your own life?
Overall, the response or the camp you belong to says more about you than Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. They’ve had decades of experience and their level of embodiment is malleable and impenetrable. Shakira’s hips won’t lie and Jenny will always be from the block. One can only hope, as we take the stage day-to-day in our own unique way, that we have a camp of women rooting for us.