Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs and boy-wonder quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
But shame on the prudish puritans who complained about the halftime show featuring pop stars Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Social media lit up after they sang and did dances based on Shakira’s Lebanese belly dancing heritage and the Latin heritage she shares with Lopez. (Incidentally, pole dancing should be in the Olympics instead of that prancing of prepubescent girls with little flags. It’s more athletic.)
Among the most vocal critics were so-called feminists who decried the two mothers of a certain age. The scolds noted that they danced too provocatively — and in front of their own children, for heaven’s sake! How dare they rear their children to be comfortable with healthy female sexuality that self-appointed moral guardians and their backward churches and cultures fear.
Most of us are glad we live in a country that doesn’t call women immodest because they wear shorts, bikinis, mini-skirts, or ripped jeans, honoring denim more in the breach than the observance.
Sadly, women in many Muslim cultures actually help enforce restrictive dress codes that demand Burqas, head scarves, no driving, no mixed education, and no being out of the house without a male relative. It appears some men and women in this country are on that spectrum.
And the Super Bowl took place in Miami, where topless sunbathing is as accepted as in Europe.
Note to these people: It’s not about modesty. It's about the subjugation of women.
As far as debasing the ritual violence of the Super Bowl as unfriendly to families bothered by the dancing, have they never seen the cheerleaders leading on their teams? My daughter was a cheerleader and wore the outfits required without shame and without overly arousing lust in the school halls and sidelines. She also played a mean second base on my boys’ hardball team. The times they have a’changed.
Incidentally, the hip-shaking and belly-dancing Shakira practices come from her Lebanese heritage. It is learned not only for entertainment but to isolate the hips in order to target the abs and help women strengthen their muscles to prepare for pregnancy and childbirth.
But what about the boys watching this halftime show? Aren’t they going to be overly stimulated? Or mildly? I’m glad we live in a society that doesn’t make women’s bodies a threat to men’s morality. American men can admire and accept women’s bodies without succumbing to lust. In fact, this sort of display is more likely to desensitize us so we accept it as normal when women dance and have good, clean fun.
In the spirit of equal rights for men and women, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If Mick Jagger and others can prance around on stage to excite the crowd, why not women?
Happily, most judges and juries no longer ask what she was wearing in rape trials. This discredited narrative led to travesties of justice. What’s next, measuring women’s bathing suits?
Note to feminists: If you are complaining about women dancing, consider moving to an area of the country like that of the movie “Footloose,” which banned dancing, or “Dirty Dancing,” which wanted to put baby in the corner.
It’s a free country. We are all free to go.
Al Kammerer is a member of the Senior University at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a retired online instructor through the University of Nebraska at Omaha of poetry, drama and film, humor literature, and short fiction.