In fear of writing on what could be a confrontational topic, I write this from a vulnerable, honest and heartfelt place that I wouldn't have been able to put together 12 years ago.
Had I not lived abroad, been surrounded by the beautiful culture, people, language, music, and traditions of other countries I too probably wouldn't have appreciated the Super Bowl halftime show as much as I did. Living in Latin America has opened my eyes to the beautiful music, dance, language and yes, even the outfits that people choose to wear while performing.
We watched and enjoyed the Super Bowl halftime show with our kids. Yet, I have seen so many posts of people, primarily in the US, who are in outrage about the clothing or lack thereof that JLo and Shakira chose to wear for the performance. I can't help but laugh a little bit that people are choosing to criticize that rather than appreciate the performance for what it was. I wonder, though, if I feel this way, because I've been living outside of the US bubble for 12 years.
Listening to the Latin music, the Spanish lyrics, seeing the Puerto Rican flag, watching the Afro-Colombian dance, Shakira's homage to Arabic, JLo's daughter singing "Born in the USA" and the girls in the cages representing the kids on the border who have been in detention represented so much. It was a message that needs to be heard and seen by the world at large.
Being married to a Latino and knowing first-hand his fear of going to the US, the way people have spoken to him and about him, the way that security at the airport always pulls him in for additional screening and knowing that I'm raising bilingual and interracial kids in a world that isn't always so friendly towards Latinos, I was so proud seeing such a public display of Latina pride.
I've seen the posts of people complaining that Jennifer shouldn't have been pole dancing in the show, I didn't see anything wrong with it. Heck, if I could do that at 50 and look that toned and strong, I'd like to show the world too. Not once did I think the show was sexual or too much. And yes, I understand that I've been living in Latin America for 12 years. I've been enjoying Latin music for 12 years. I appreciate the art and the culture that it represents.
In a world in which women are still criticized for being strong, for stepping up and for showing up, I felt so much pride to see women leading the show. In a world in which Latinos are still being criticized, harassed and treated unjustly, I was so proud to see Latinas center-stage and sharing the message.
In my world, living in Mexico, married to a Peruvian, raising a tricultural son and daughter, I'm proud that Zoe will have examples of women who aren't afraid to break down the barriers, take a stand and celebrate the diversity that makes up our world today.
Bravo Shakira and JLo, I'm grateful for the stand you took and the show you put on.
And for the many who are criticizing the details, I encourage you to look at it from a different perspective, one that can appreciate the diversity, beauty and culture that sometimes you can only see once you've been in someone else's shoes or country.