The Terrible-Horrible, Wonderful-Beautiful, Superbowl Halftime Show by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

A lof of people have been raving about the Superbowl Halftime show, and for good reasons.

A lot of people have been raging about the Superbowl Halftime show, and for good reasons.

[Please hang in there with me as I conduct a back and forth exercise in this blog post; try to read it all the way through.]

Two famous, talented women of color performed impressive, culturally rich songs and dances, and along with children of color, they denounced the racism and cruel policies of the current administration. In many ways, it was the most progressive, ethically compelling Halftime show in history.

That’s all wonderful. It’s so wonderful, that one might ask whether anything more should be said. Why bring negativity into such a fabulous, fantastic celebration of culture and denunciation of racism?

Two young, heavily made-up, scantily-clad women mimicked strip club style pole dancing and other pornified, dehumanized objectification, in an attempt to demonstrate how thoroughly, incontrovertibly fuckable they were by the standards of today’s degrading, misogynist insistence that if females are not proving themselves to be desirable sex toys, they are invisible and fail the femininity test. The show caused a dramatic spike in online porn searches for videos depicting degrading, violent sex and rape acts against Latina females. In many ways, it was the least progressive, most unethical Halftime show in history.

That’s all terrible. It’s so terrible, that one might ask whether anything more should be said. Why make excuses for such a violent display of misogyny and glamorization of females as subhuman sex toys that exist only to gratify disgusting male perversions?

People get trapped into binary thinking so easily because we are all desperate to reassure ourselves of three core beliefs: 1) I am good, 2) I am competent, 3) I am worthy of respect. Conversations about the Halftime Show immediately —instantaneously— become identity conversations, in which the participants are not talking about the show at all; they are talking about themselves. So there are always two conversations happening at the same time— T) the text: what people say, and S) the subtext: the identity fears that make people dig in and lash out.

T) In one camp, we find people who insist that dancing in strip-club style sexual ways is not only harmless, it is empowering, so long as an individual woman “chooses” to display herself that way. Thus, anyone who criticizes the show is trying to silence/shame/oppress these individual women, who should be supported in their choices.

S) Identity Subtext: 1) I sometimes display myself that way and enjoy the attention I receive, or I enjoy feeling lust for females who display themselves that way; I am worried that therefore, I am not good or worthy of respect, and/or 2) I am worried that if I do not speak out in support all sexual expressions, I will be bad – I will be a failure as a progressive by failing to protect people from sexual repression, I will be accused of the conservative, sexually repressive “purity culture” of right wing fundamentalists, and/or I will be shamed as “sex-negative” by my progressive in-group.

T) In the other camp, we find people who say that our misogynist culture purposefully limits the so-called “choices” available to young women, such that females can choose between being “fuckable or invisible,” and thus the “choice” narrative both distorts the underlying misogynist violence that shapes the entire culture and colludes with patriarchy to prevent the class-based analysis necessary for the liberation of the oppressed female class.

S) Identity Subtext: 1) I have grown up in a culture that tells me if I do not meet certain criteria as “fuckable,” I have no value. I want to reject that assertion, and therefore, I am worried that my culture categorizes me as invisible or valueless. I am worried that maybe patriarchy is right, maybe I actually do not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as a human being, but rather just degraded as a subhuman fuck toy; and/or 2) I am frightened that if I don’t speak out in denunciation of how violent and damaging this misogyny is, I will be bad – I will be a failure as a progressive/feminist/parent, by failing to help liberate the oppressed female class.

T) In the first camp, we find people who insist that anyone who sees sexism in these performances is simply racist or ignorant of cultural expressions, and insensitive to the need to celebrate cultural diversity.

S) Identity Subtext: 1) I am white and worried that I am not progressive enough to be respected by my progressive in-group, and/or 2) I am worried that the racist white American culture will continue to oppress and devalue people of color [like me] by finding something to criticize in everything [we] do, or by sexualizing [us] in dehumanizing ways, especially when [we] are not trying to sexualize [ourselves].[1]

T) In the second camp, we find people who insist that racism has nothing to do with it.

S) Identity subtext: 1) I am worried that I am not progressive enough to be deemed “good” and to be respected by my progressive in-group, and/or 2) I am worried that the racist white American culture will continue to oppress and devalue people of color [like me] by taking an objectifying performance like this and using it to justify the way they sexualize [us] in dehumanizing ways, especially when [we] are not trying to sexualize [ourselves].1

These two frames/lenses for this conversation are so unreconciled, and the fear-based subtext behind them is so passionate (read terrified and wounded), that I have yet to see a constructive debate about the topic, which takes both frames into account. Anyone who tries to present the existence of two possible frames is shouted down by one or both sides as hopelessly racist or hopelessly sexist. Make no mistake: this is painful, sensitive stuff… precisely because it connects straight to our most fundamental core needs/beliefs/fears. And having an apparently untouchable, planet-destroying, gleefully cruel, racist misogynist on the American throne makes us all more frantic than usual.

The only way forward for individuals, is for each of us to admit, and to have loving compassion for, our underlying, valid fears. The only way forward for our community, is for all of us to admit, and to have loving compassion for, the underlying, valid fears of everyone else. If all we care about is shouting, if our goal is to “have our say!” regardless of the impact or effect on the issues we claim to hold dear, well, we can carry on bludgeoning each other and achieve nothing more meaningful than reassuring our egos.

But if we can move beyond trying to prove our own in-group virtue, if we genuinely want to heal the racism and the sexism in our society, there is one way forward, and it isn’t shouting each other down. It is admitting our fears, summoning the humility to accept that there are, in fact, multiple valid perspectives, and having enough maturity to join in compassionate, constructive, open-hearted conversation toward building a culture in which females of all cultural backgrounds can be liberated and celebrated as sacred and precious and glorious. I hope this article can help open up the beginnings of those conversations and that important, liberative work.

One final thought: the more each of us can find tools (spiritual? psychological? communal?) to believe, truly believe, that we are good, competent, and worthy of respect, the better we will be at healing ourselves and healing all the ills of our hurting world.

[1] Note: as a white woman, I cannot pretend to have firsthand experience of this second statement, and I make no claims to understand how it feels to grow up with racism. I am only repeating the sentiments I have heard some of my friends voice. I know this debate is raging among women of color, and I hope all sides of that debate will chime in here.


Trelawney Grenfell-Muir teaches courses about Sex, Dating, Marriage, and Work in the Religion and Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College and about Cross Cultural Conflict in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A Senior Discussant at the Religion and the Practices of Peace Initiative at Harvard University, she holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. She currently writes articles, book chapters, and liturgical resources about feminist, nature-based Christianity.

35 thoughts on “The Terrible-Horrible, Wonderful-Beautiful, Superbowl Halftime Show by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

  1. Trelawney, I was just about to begin trying to wrestle with my very mixed reaction to the show and offer it to FAR when your post arrived in my inbox! I agree with many things you say but…there are buts….For now, I want to get my own thoughts in order and then revisit your piece. I am just so glad you have started this conversation on this site. It is necessary and important. In this era of MeToo and Time’s Up and in the era of Trump cruelties, I am not sure if the show helped or hurt the effort to return us to civility and decency and away from the exploitation of women. Thank you for getting us started. Aloha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much – I look forward to reading your thoughts. Yes, I have a lot more to say about it, too, and this post was already way over the word limit!! I guess I think the show helped in some ways and hurt in others. I hope we can keep talking about it together and sort out a few helpful ideas to move us toward decency and civility better. Peace.


  2. One point: J Lo is 50 and Shakira is 43. Some of what I have seen on fb in favor is about the fact that women who might be considered old (i.e over 40) are still in their sexual power and proud of it. The same people also speak of women of color owning their sexual power in cultures where they have been demeaned and also desexualized because of their color.

    I agree with you that the issues are complex and that people are responding from very different places. And thanks for opening a feminist dialogue here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. There really is a LOT more to say about this subject, and I’m glad you chimed in with these important points. I was thinking about the age issue, and how the reason these women (and all women in entertainment) are applauded and celebrated for their age is precisely because they have managed to look basically the same as the idea “fuckable” pornified 20 year old. In other words, if they looked like you or me, they would not be applauded, but criticized for not “keeping themselves up” and for “letting themselves go” – and there would be a lot of backlash about why the Halftime show would allow such crones onto the stage, and they certainly would be mocked ruthlessly for trying to present themselves as “fuck toys” as they did. So the age issue is a complicated one – men are allowed to age, and women are not, and the double standards are telling. Here’s the old piece I wrote about how patriarchy is a pedophile.
      I think the issue of “sexual power” is so important, and thank you for raising it here. We could do a long series of blog posts on that one topic – what is sexual power? Who gets to define it, and by what criteria, and how is that decided? What does age and culture have to do with it? What does it mean to “own” one’s sexual power in a culture that commodifies it? How do cultures hypersexualize and desexualize females because of age and color, and by what criteria? SO much to discuss!! Thank you for raising up the big questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Very thought provoking on many levels. I’m still mulling over what I took away from the show; probably most-notably ,as Carol pointed out , that “older women “ can be fit, vital, and powerful. (However , that lends itself to us “normal “ women feeling less than. ) As far as the show being entertaining- for me it was eh. Thank you to all for keeping the dialogues coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pamela. I hope you’ll check out my reply to Carol, above. I do think the question of what constitutes “fit, vital, and powerful” is the key, here – who gets to define those terms, and why, and by what criteria, and how does that intersect with the commodification of female bodies and the inherent disempowerment of female sexualization within patriarchy? What is normal? What is less than? Why? Who decides? I can say that for me, personally, being in a safe, committed, loving, healthy relationship with a partner who gives me tremendous sexual pleasure in reverent and respectful ways– feels pretty damned empowered!! I used to be a sex kitten… I was trained to be one by my abusive ex ~25 years ago. It wasn’t empowering at all. The power to generate lust in exploitative, misogynist men is no longer something I consider true power. I hope we can keep discussing these issues here — so much to think about together, and doing it together it gives me hope we can get somewhere better. Peace!


      1. I just read your reply to Carol ! And agree on all points ; also thank you for your personal reply to me. I agree with you about what constitutes “sexual power “ and being in a safe, loving , committed relationship. (It pains me to think about my 13 y.o granddaughter navigating in this society). So much to consider here …we have to continue being the real role models for our girls (and boys ).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pamela, it pains me, too, to think about all young women and girls nowadays. I agree, we must continue to give them a compass and to be role models. What resources are you using for your granddaughter?


  4. Hello Carol, and Treylawney, and SiStars of this Sanctuary;

    I work in a hidden world where men actually seek instruction from priestesses. In the Phoenix Goddess Temple men, members of our temple, are publicly shamed and threatened for “submitting” to the feminine mysteries. I am one of hundreds (if not thousands), of women who practice tantric sacred sexuality in ceremonies, chakra energy rebalancing and holy anointing. In our Goddess world, women are Ma-Matter-Material, daughters of Mother, and true rulers of the holy body. Every Priestess is an initiatrix of all things to do with MAGNETIC ENERGY. Energy flow is a scientific fact. Energy moves in polarity, energy moves between poles (yes SiStars, a pole joke 😉) I believe humankind is in its infancy in understanding how to use the power of attraction to create in a physical way.

    Our species is waking up to our sixth sense. We are waking up to a 3rd Eye-directed new reality. Would you be shocked to hear just how many good men want to know what to do with the power of their root chakra?

    There is no guiding star when it comes to sexuality in patriarchal world, except porn and dominance. These women did not look dominated to me, that’s why I give the show thumbs up. To say it would be better if no women acted like this would be to deny the most fundamental power that exists between women and men.

    Our sexual North Star could be WE priestesses, as in Mary Magdala’s triple-towered Goddess Temple of old. Sexual power, when connected to the mind, the heart, the identity, and not severed from all 7 chakras is holistic and good for all. This power and light emanating from Source is indeed our Goddess power to create.

    There is no guiding star when it comes to sexuality in our world. Humanity’s guiding star could be Venus, Aphrodite, & Freya. Priestess leadership could bring enormous respect for what women actually contribute to reality. Priestesses of old knew that men are dealing with in the power of the root chakra, and they need guidance. Not to dam (and damn) the naturally designed flow. Rather to direct this masculine imperative to sacred use of the root power. .

    There is nothing NOTHING nothing that any of us can do to change the magnetic energy that exists between men and women. Bio energy magnetics are a factual scientific experiential part of our existence. We need to come out strong as women spiritual teachers to say to men, “this life force energy is your power to create!” .

    I am not covered in despair about “how men really are”, because I’ve met so many that want to do right with their magnetic attraction to women. We are in a sexual cesspool and it is going to take sacred sexual practices to turn this around. I pray that women will understand that we can’t run from sex. We need to guide humanity towards “woke” interpretations of what sexual energy really means (hint, it’s ENERGY).

    As we Priestesses climb this mountain towards societal acceptance, we slowly gain respect and finally, we may regain our place as teachers & trainers of “righteous” use of life force energy. Men have failed miserably at understanding and “controlling” sex. Wombmyn must be given prominence to once again teach humankind “what is good” in sex? What is “sacred” in sex? Or in life for that matter?

    I dream of a world when people who are sexual can be sexual and people who don’t feel these energies strongly are no longer threatened or upset by exuberant displays of female sexuality. These women were athletic! These women were artistic! In my world, these were open displays of female power, creativity and joy. The look insecure ass and J Lo‘s eyes worse look at what I have accomplished as a woman! They brought beauty and movements and grays and storytelling it to a game for men by men.

    One thing that makes the difference is, they controlled these artistic choices. These were not slaves girls dancing in a harem. These women are winning in worldly power and influence, And they clearly understand and participate in magnetics with men. They were not even paid to be there! It was basically a volunteer effort with the NFL picking up the tab for their artistic vision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you are exploring these topics. It sounds as though you have found a way of constructing meaning around issues of sex, sexuality, and divinity, that you find helpful, which is always a great thing.

      I do hope you will follow some of the links in my article, which give depth to some of the issues you bring up. For example, the topic of “choice” and how patriarchy restricts and defines female choices, is discussed in depth here

      And the topic of how females are simultaneously disempowered as “fighting fuck toys” whenever they are empowered as exuberant, athletic, or warriors, is discussed in this excellent documentary:

      And this additional article does a great job at explaining the difference between liberal feminism’s individualist (and therefore selfish) approach vs. radical feminism’s approach of prioritizing the liberation of the entire oppressed female class.

      Peace to you and your journey.


  5. Wow, this is quite an essay! Thank you for it, and thank you for not being afraid to use the word “fuckable” or its shorter verb form.

    As an old white curmudgeon, I was horrified and completely turned off by that blatantly sexual display. I’m glad my 11-year-old granddaughter wasn’t watching, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted her to participate in that ghastly performance.

    I’d rather have watched a uniformed marching band perform neatly executed maneuvers while playing music. (Whatever happened to that by the way?)

    In my view the half-time show was directed at the panting males who watched the SuperBore. As for the women concerned rejoicing in their femaleness and sexual attractiveness even at their ages, it didn’t seem any more “freeing” than The Pill turned out to be. Goddess knows I loved the Pill when I was young and used it myself when I was dating and marrying the man who became my husband. But one thing the Pill did was to wrest our best excuse from us: “I don’t want to get pregnant.” That was easier for men, of whose tender, insecure feelings we Must Always Be Aware, to accept than, “No, I just don’t find you attractive enough to have sex with.”

    So yes, I’d have preferred a Caribbean steel band or a lovely display of women in color waltzing in colorful dresses with bell-shaped skirts, but that’s just me. As an elderly woman wearing the patriarchal “cloak of invisibility,” I am well aware that my opinions count for nothing in our society.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this heartfelt comment. One of my favorite things about this community is that your opinions count so much here BECAUSE you are an elderly woman who is rejecting patriarchy’s command to try to please the misogynist male gaze. I find your comparison with the Pill fascinating and useful. I agree, this show was aimed for the toxic masculine male gaze of most superbowl fans and the culture it has created around itself. Females are commodities to be consumed. Sometimes they get to be diverse in certain ways, but those ways are very limited in order to preserve their primary value as commodities for consumption by porn culture. My 11 year old daughter accidentally caught a short glimpse of the halftime show and was deeply upset and disturbed by it. She does not like the cultural pressure to become more sexualized in pornified ways that she is encountering as she nears puberty. I don’t blame her one bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trelawney, my 11-year-old granddaughter told me that her fifth-grade class was recently subjected to a lecture on “the birds and the bees,” which she found very distressing. She does not want to experience sacred moon time every month and hates what she calls her “widening hips.” (She’s pretty much still straight up-and-down at this point.) She and her friends discussed where babies come from: granddaughter said she thought they just randomly appeared from time to time, but her friend said she thought they came from Amazon.

        Menarche is surrounded by so much patriarchy-induced shame and hype in our culture. I’m going to make sure it’s different for my beloved child.


  6. Very interesting post! I suspect you’re probably correct on both points about how women must perform and be seen. We all see women and girls on the streets and in their schools all the time working on being sexy.

    I’ve never seen a Super Bowl. I’ve never seen a half-time show. The only time I’ve seen J Lo is in the movie Shall We Dance. (Is that her? Am I correct?) I have never seen Shakira. I have zero interest in football and zero interest in their kind of oversexed pop music.

    But like Carol, I thank you for opening a feminist dialogue.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Barbara. My feed has been blowing up with posts dismissing any feminist critique of the Show as sexually repressed at best, and racist at worst. So I felt the need to try to open a conversation that allowed for a balanced discussion. Yes, J-Lo was in Shall We Dance, and I like her acting in other movies (Out of Sight, Maid in Manhattan) – and she is clearly very talented. It saddens me that patriarchy shapes and constrains the apparent “choices” of talented women.


      1. I think your feminist critique is absolutely appropriate. Good for you.

        I don’t like football (I saw half a game when I was in college) because it’s like war without the bullets and shells. A bunch of big, macho men trying to prove how aggressive they are. Yes, I hold a minority opinion. But all those macho men and their macho fans seem to want only sexy, preferably vulnerable women. Like cheerleaders??

        And I agree that patriarchy tells us what our shape should be. Alas.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I used to play women’s rugby in my 20’s, and it was by far the most fun sport I ever played. I like it a lot better than men’s rugby and MUCH better than football, though I can see how some folks might not see much difference. I don’t watch much football, but my husband is a sports fan. I have gradually come to understand how he has a huge Athlete archetype, but is unable to engage with that archetype as much as he’d like, due to a football injury when he was in middle school. So I try to see things with a lens of compassion. I think our culture is DEEPLY SICK regarding how it explains to men what it means to be male, and the idea of masculinity (and femininity) is IMO DEEPLY flawed and oppressive. Cheerleaders are yet another symptom that perpetuates this disease. Thank you for being a voice of sanity in a terribly sick culture. <3

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Barbara, I love Shakira’s voice. Those belly-dance moves she does are what she has been doing since girlhood, and I think she got in trouble in Catholic school for those moves.


  7. You provided a very thorough reflection on. The halftime show and thank you for that. I personally have no problem with the show and even played it for my students to emphasize that it was quite unique that two Latina women were the highlight of a game that is so American and so extremely masculine. I feel like our culture here has become very open in general about sexualizing entertainment and ever since Madonna Pushed the envelope for a good Catholic girl the culture here has run with it. It makes money and it sells. That said I can understand both points of view. The irony Is it our culture has been expressing itself in movies and everything else with a lot of sexuality although not sensuality. The two Latina women did an amazing job singing and dancing at the same time, which I think was overlooked. I think this is the biggest challenge for us as Women no matter what color. We are watched for what We look like And how attractive we are And not as much for what we do. I watched the Super Bowl with a room full of Latinos and Latinas and the comments were about who liked whom more And less about how well they performed in their art. I have some more thoughts on a personal level. But I’m sure that another time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Michelle. Yes – it is telling that after the show, the internet blew up with searches about these women – but not for their talent, no, just for degrading, violent pornography. The commodification of female sexuality has reached extreme levels. I agree that it has been continually pushed. I, too, am so glad that two Latina women were given the spotlight. I hope someday our culture will find ways to lift up and celebrate Latina women that are more focused on their talent and cultural richness, without the insulting commodification of their bodies as fuck toys. I agree, singing and dancing at the same time was amazing. Two amazingly talented women, who deserve a lot of respect. I hope you write up your thoughts some more as well. Peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trelawney,,

        You inspired me in my recent post. You may enjoy this, which has a link to your post. I would like to share my post as part of the Feminism and Religion Site, but I’m not sure how I do that.

        I hope you enjoy this:


  8. Thank you for so carefully expressing something I have been trying to encourage as well – our culture tries so hard to discourage nuance, respectful dialog, and thoughtful critique. And, it’s more important than ever. Also, I do this same work on myself – are there areas of myself that are cultural, or religio-cultural, that I want to celebrate, while at the same time, try to be honest and aware of ways they might be contributing to harm, to myself or others? What of role modeling for my children? This is important, important work, we need to do as individuals and communities!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, no, I don’t contribute to any harm, and also you should say “whilst.”

      Just kidding – thank you so much, Tallessyn – that’s a great reminder – to bring our class-based analyses back to individual growth, and then back again to the common good. And I see my children modeling/teaching this for me, more often than not, which is incredible.
      Thanks for your insightful comment. <3


  9. This was such an interesting post, thank you. I also had really mixed feelings and opinions about the half-time show. I hadn’t watched it that night, I had to look it up on Youtube to see what what the fuss was about–Shakira’s ululation (forget the proper term) and the “porniness” of the show. Both appalling and glorious. Too bad it couldn’t just have been glorious without the appalling side of it. BTW, when Shakira did her thing she looked joyous!


    1. Thank you, Iris, I agree… appalling and glorious, and I keep yearning for a world where females can be freely glorious in all our divine splendor, free from exploitation, commodification, and degradation, and just shining with radiant power. <3

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks so much for opening up this discussion. I too was both delighted and horrified by the half-time show. I loved both women’s amazing talent and strength, the political statements being made, the fact that 2 Latinas were on that big stage, that Shakira drew on her heritage with joyful bellydance moves and J Lo singing with her daughter.

    But I was pretty horrified by the over-sexualized presentation. During the whole performance, as I felt that horror I was fighting with myself about my reaction with self-talk like “When did I turn into such a prude?”, “It’s all ok – they are claiming their own power”, etc., etc. But I still can’t shake the feeling that if we lived in a world where women were truly honored for our true selves and not just for how sexually attractive we are to men we would never present ourselves as porn stars for male consumption. Much to ponder on for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also so upset about the sexuality. And having some of the same thoughts–well, it’s ok if they want to dance like that, etc. But finding the display really unsettling.

      I think that if we women were to choose when, where, and how we choose to display our bodies, for our own comfort or pleasure, or even to pleasure men–we would make very different choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Iris, I agree – the way misogynist patriarchy has limited and shaped our “choices” is painful and dramatic…. I hope and pray we can break open those limits and provide true choice to females everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Judith. I agree, well said… just that feeling of “almost”… the wonderful is so wonderful, and the terrible is so terrible, and if we could just….. …. so simple, but so terribly hard, apparently, to allow females to be truly powerful without trying to disempower us somehow.


  11. Thank you for your most recent essay, Trelawney. Both points-of-view were succinctly & well-stated. (It sure became a catalyst for such interesting conversation, didn’t it?)

    UsualIy , I don’t watch the Super Bowl, but the half-time show stimulated such controversy that I decided to watch it on Youtube. I found it to be the same old same old, so I was not at all surprised. I wish I had been, but I was bored, instead.

    The Super Bowl has become the closest event to a national religion than any other event in our history, with the half-time show being its big media ritual. The dancing, of course, was a physical feat, but it was also like an updated version of the aptly named Solid Gold Dancers. The entire show was in service to a patriarchal event that does not seem to care for the health & well-being of it’s gladiators at all, not to mention the greater public . I say ‘gladiators’ because the whole thing reminds me of ancient Rome, except they’re not enslaved. (They were, weren’t they?)

    The camera-work seemed a prime example of the male gaze, which I do not find it to sexually empowering.

    That said, I, too, am grateful to have a place where I can hash out my perspective with other women.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Sharon. Have you read Noam Chomsky’s opinions on professional sports in the USA? It’s very helpful. I agree with what you’ve said above, and to me, it shows just how much our own perspectives have been shaped/distorted/diseased by capitalist patriarchy, that the game and the show have become, as you say, a national religion. There is so much talent involved – by the players and the performers – and this is how it is put to use? This is how the finances shape up? This is the message it is employed to deliver? Telling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that Noam Chomsky has written about a lot, but I am not familiar with his work on sports. Is there a book available or is it an essay?


        1. I’ve seen him mention it several times in articles, and probably books, and a quick search turned up this one – there are certainly more, and honestly… I think it would take a long time for me to think I had read enough Chomsky to feel properly informed about society! You gave me a great excuse to go read some more.


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