This past Sunday, the New England Patriots once again won the Super Bowl. However, the story about the game had little to do with the 13-3 score in a boring slog of a game that was mostly uninspiring defense. The big story was the highly anticipated half-time show.
A Controversial Show
The half-time show as already controversial when many artists, particularly artists of color were bowing out of doing the performance to support Colin Kaepernick’s protest and subsequent black listing in the NFL. However, the popular half-time show was saved by Maroon 5, half of OutKast, and Travis Scott.
The half-time show was milquetoast at best. Adam Levine forgot some of the words to his own songs and because it was a bad, there wasn’t much movement or theatrics. They played through the hits and he slowly, but surely undressed himself on stage until he was shirtless with his plethora of tattoos on full display on national television.
For those old enough to remember the 2004 Janet Jackson debacle, some folks wondered, “Why is this display of nudity by a white man ok when Janet Jackson revealed a breast, covered nipple, and was essentially blacklisted from television and somewhat from music for years afterwards?
Unpopular Opinion Incoming
This is not a popular opinion but honestly, it is unfair to Janet (a favorite artist of mine) to be treated the way she was. Justin Timberlake never really suffered from the 9/16ths exposure of her breast. However, we have different societal standards. Men have been able to expose their chests on television for some time. Watch any daytime soap opera for proof of this. For women, that is still taboo and I don’t see that changing any time soon. The reality is that we are navigating through the avenues of freedom for the bodies of women, societal standards, and human sexuality. The female form is sexual because men are sexual. The male body is not sexual in the same way as the female form. That does not deny that women have a right to their body or a right to wear what they want. However, our society usually denigrates male sexuality and male sexual attraction.
Rockstar Bodies Aren’t Threatening
Adam Levine is the type of guy that is sexual in an unobtrusive and non-threatening way. His thin body is somewhat feminine. His chest has no hair and the way he stands with his hips and butt lends a femininity to his male-ness that makes his inherent sexuality accessible.
There is simply a difference between male bodies and female bodies. That is why Adam Levine can remove his shirt and Janet will continue to slay the world.