A few years ago we were talking about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show. Half a second of an exposed breast, and the world went crazy. “Nipplegate” as it’s been called, was widely discussed and many saw it as an sign of the decreasing morality of the American culture.
So where’s the general public outcry about the half-time show Beyonce performed? Eight years after Nipplegate, not many are upset about the blatantly sexy performance of someone who is a gorgeous and gifted performer like Beyoncé . That gal sure can sing and dance like nobody’s business, and I was very much looking forward to her performance, but the super tight and low-cut clothes, the suggestive pelvic thrusts and lyrics oozing with innuendo… I wish I had watched the Puppy Bowl during halftime instead. Being that I’m not completely naive and ignorant of Beyoncé’s music, I was expecting a little bit of sexy from her. But wow… I could barely watch the show, and that’s pretty much all I have to say about it.
But it wasn’t just Beyoncé’s performance that bothered me and ruined a large part of my experience of watching the Super Bowl this year. It was the multitude of over-the-top commercials that used sex appeal to try to get us to pay attention to and buy the products of various companies. GoDaddy.com continues to push the envelope in what can be shown on TV as an ad. My husband, who recorded Super Bowl game for me so I could watch the game and commercials from the beginning, told me to skip their commercial.
Because the phrase “sex sells” has never applied to me. I’ve never been enamored with much of the culture of sexy. I’ve always thought that humor and cleverness of writing made for the best commercials, not placing a product in the hands of a young woman dressed in clothing that leave little to the imagination or a product right next to a man with well-defined abs. I’ve always thought people deserved to be thought of as beautiful instead of lusted over.
I remember when nearly everyone I knew, whether they liked football or not, would eagerly anticipate the Super Bowl for the game, the commercials, or both. Among family and friends we’d rate the commercials, talk about the cool tricks and/or special effects (like the McDonalds Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan in 1993 commercial) or how clever and funny a commercial was (like Reebok’s “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” in 2003)
I miss the morality and respect for the other person and self in what is seen on TV, in the movies and on the billboards.
Some might say I’m just getting old.
But it’s not my age. It’s because I choose to see everything around me through the lens of my Catholic faith. Because of this, it means that I see dignity and worth in all human persons, and that there’s no need to devalue someone by showing off just one part of a person.
Beyoncé doesn’t need pelvic thrusts or tight, revealing clothes to prove she’s a great performer and has a voice the angels would envy. She just needs to be a performer who remembers that while sexy sells and gets you attention, it also can reduce your dignity and how people view you as a person.
I still enjoy Beyoncé’s music, I still appreciate the great performer she is. And I think that some of the Super Bowl commercials this year were good, but I’m still disappointed in the acceptance of sexy to sell and make something seem acceptable and good.
And just so you know, I’ll definitely be watching the Super Bowl next year, but probably during half-time, I’ll probably be watching the Puppy Bowl.
Oh, and PS- Did you know that both head coaches, James and John Harbaugh are devoutly practicing Catholics?