Myth: Showing off your body is empowering.
Truth: Showing too much of your body is not empowering.
I don’t follow sports (except for the Olympics) and neither does my husband. Naturally, we did not watch the most recent Super Bowl. We did hear about it a lot on social media. There were those who were posting that the game itself was just a sideshow next to the halftime show and for a lot of people, that was exactly the case. I saw a bunch of posts praising Shakira and J.Lo (Jennifer Lopez) for showing that even as they get older, they’ve still got it.
I’ve been called a feminist or a “modern crusader for women’s interest” and I wear both of these as badges of honor. But I’m sure there are those who will think that I’m betraying feminism by daring to say that the halftime show was anything but empowering. Many of those who posted these things were women who found this empowering. Well, I disagree.
From me, you get the truth.
J.Lo and Shakira did a lot of very provocative gyrating while dressed in very revealing costumes. There are those who see it as empowering that these women still have great bodies and still have the confidence to show them off. But I don’t see it that way. To me, these were just cheap gimmicks.
The problem is that when we show too much of our bodies, it draws all the attention and that’s what people notice. While I agree with the fact that no woman deserves to be treated with any disrespect no matter how she’s dressed, I think it’s hypocritical of any woman to show off her body in revealing clothes and then get upset when people notice the very body parts that she’s shoving in their faces.
It gets worse. When a woman wears revealing clothes, not only do people notice her body, but that body draws all the attention and people will find it harder to even notice, let alone focus on, her intelligence, talents, and personality. J.Lo and Shakira are both talented singers and performers but who really noticed anything other than their bodies?
Yes, that’s a problem. As adult women, we’re supposed to be growing into ourselves as real people. As we get older, our life experience is supposed to make us wiser and more mature. We’re not supposed to give up on the intelligence and talents that worked for us before but we’re supposed to be using those things and becoming better at them and becoming better people. And as we do that, we’re supposed to be celebrating those aspects of ourselves as well. Plus, even younger women who haven’t gotten there yet should still be celebrating the intelligence and talents that they do have.
There are those who would insist on reading this as if I’m saying that J.Lo and Shakira should be ashamed of their bodies. Nothing could be further from the truth. No woman deserves to be ashamed of her body. And it’s obvious that these two women are taking very good care of their bodies and that deserves to be celebrated. But appearance is one area in which we can have it all. We can use our appearance to celebrate our healthy bodies and celebrate our intelligence, creativity, kindheartedness, talents, and other things about our persons. If these women had worn clothing that covered them but that was also fitted, flattering, colorful, and fun, the focus would’ve been primarily on their performing talents and creativity while also acknowledging how beautiful these women are. That is empowering.
Remember that true tzniut is not just about covering up. You’re supposed to wear clothing that fits and flatters you (to celebrate your good health and energy) and that suits your style (to celebrate your personality). There’s plenty of empowerment there so please tap into it and enjoy it.