Do You Think the Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Kid Friendly?

I don’t have kids of my own. I have nieces and nephews that I deeply care about, but when I’m not around them, it’s rare that I consider the kid-friendliness of pretty much anything.

The Super Bowl halftime show was different.

I was at a party last night with 7 adults and 6 kids. Other than an infant, the kids were all little girls, ages ranging from 2 to 6. They ignored the game and the commercials, but when Shakira and Jennifer Lopez took the stage, they were entranced.

On the surface, I enjoyed the halftime show. Shakira and Lopez are incredibly talented performers, and their songs are catchy. In some ways, it felt like a celebration of Latino culture, which was awesome to see on such a big stage.

But there was a 5-10 minute portion of the show that felt…well, honestly, it felt a lot more like a scene from a sex club (as shown in movies–I’m not sure if they exist in real life) than a musical performance. Lopez was twirling on a pole with a mass of writhing bodies around her. With several little girls intently watching, I couldn’t help but wonder if the choreographers considered that little kids would be watching this performance, as it did not seem kid friendly to me at all.

I’m trying to choose my words carefully here, but I don’t think there was anything inherently wrong about Lopez’ performance (Shakira was great too, but she wasn’t really involved in the portion of the show I’m talking about). She was there to entertain.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Lopez was there to entertain adults. If she were invited to perform at an elementary school, there’s absolutely no way she would choose that performance.

Granted, little kids aren’t the target audience for the Super Bowl. Most 4-year-olds aren’t deeply entrenched in Chiefs or Niners fandom, nor are they the ones buying anything in the commercials. Also, there are hundreds of other TV channels–any parent could simply change the channel if the halftime show becomes inappropriate for small children.

Maybe that’s the answer. Or maybe I’m wrong, and the show was perfectly kid-friendly. Or maybe there’s another answer. It was just surreal for me to watch little girls watching that portion of the performance, and I can’t imagine they were the only little kids watching it last night.

What do you think? I’m particularly curious about your reaction if you have kids.


9 Responses to “Do You Think the Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Kid Friendly?”

  1. John Stone says:

    I have three boys under 13. We turn off the super bowl half time show every year. My wife watched it later and I’m glad we had it off.

  2. Neeraja says:

    We had it on but our kids were in bed by 8pm (ET) so it wasn’t a problem. We’ve had things on that are a problem and when they become a problem we turn them off. This includes mainstream sitcoms (Modern Family, Brooklyn 99, Parks and Rec), news (NPR stories about rape, child abuse, violence, Trump stupidity) podcasts (Crooked Media, why so much cursing?!?), pop music (seriously why cursing AND the N word?).

    It’s all a part of the world, and our job as parents is to be a filter. It happens every day. Super Bowl day is just one; we make it through 364 others.

  3. Joseph says:

    I really don’t understand how this show was “empowering” to women.

    I’m not a woman – but my wife looked at me after the show was done and said “I thought we were trying to NOT be objectified…” When did a stripper pole become a symbol of female empowerment?

    JLo and Shakira have tremendous talent that they have honed and refined for years – to me though, if their message is female empowerment, they’re somehow appear to be embracing their own sexual objectification in the process.

    Our culture is very confused.

  4. Michael O'Connell says:

    When I worked for Bluetooth (several years ago), we had a deal with the Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders (the Seagals) to promote the Bluetooth brand. (They even gave away devices at the games.) Then we began to receive baffled queries from people from other countries, asking why we had photos of prostitutes (the Seagals) on the landing page of Bluetooth.com. Cultures differ broadly as to what is considered acceptable for children to accidentally be exposed to, but people tend to assume that these things are constant. As the US culture shifts (as the population shifts), entrenched notions on pretty much everything will continue to be challenged.

    As a parent, sexy Latin and Middle-eastern dancing during a football game doesn’t bother me. My sons have always been pretty much self-policing when it comes to what they want to be exposed to on that front. What troubles me is the ubiquity of the Internet. There are things on here that can scar your soul, and I’ve always been concerned with what my boys might stumble across without warning or context.

  5. Benjamin Espina says:

    What Jennifer Lopez and Shakira did were as much about athleticism as they were about artistry. Why are people threatened by dancing and nudity? It is adults that place negative values to these things – by themselves they are not dirty/ improper things.

    While we’re at it, what makes football kid friendly? It is a blood sport that is marketed as a proxy for war that causes debilitating neurological injuries later on in life. Why are we so fixated on policing women’s bodies and their desire for self-expression?

  6. Derrick says:

    Our society is so quick to become outraged these days, I have a hard time taking any of it seriously.

    Having said that, I can understand where some parents – not including myself – would find that inappropriate, distasteful, or even offensive for their children and that reaction is OK. What confuses me is how these parents were surprised or shocked that a halftime show starring J-Lo and Shakira might have some self-expressed, possibly overt sexuality in the content of the show (“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”). Where is their culpability in allowing their children to be exposed to this content?

  7. Jonathan says:

    Hi Jamey,

    I watched the game and the half-time show. Has an adult I enjoyed it alot. I can understand your feelings when JLo is twerking on the dick of the rapper and he immitate slapping her ass, while your niece is watching.

    But at the same time, I wonder why anyone would think she wouln’t do it.. If you’ve followed her 2019 projects, you are aware of her movie Hustlers and her learning and mastering pole dancing etc.. Its not a news either that she can be provocative in her many music videos. Its kind of why she was invited to do the Halft-time show.

    I think its the responsability of the parents to filter what they think maybe wrong for their childs to see and try to imitate.

    Again, good show, not 100% 5 years old little girl friendly, parents need to be aware of what they are showing to their kids and be more informed. I wouldn’t have a problem if I had a little girl watching this cause I would explain to her what is wrong to imitate and what is good.

  8. Aaron Watson says:

    Definitely inappropriate. But I was at this dude’s condo, and I couldn’t change the channel. I certainly wasn’t crazy about it, and I’d rather my girls not see it. But it’s a one time deal. Not the kind of content that my kids are exposed to with any regularity. If you’re gonna leave the house, you’re gonna see some stuff. I think as long as it’s a rarity, the kids will be OK.

    But, seriously, the NFL is the worst, on so many levels.

  9. […] I wrote an article in which I questioned the kid-friendliness of a specific portion of the halftime show. I […]

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