Along with the 108 million other people who watched this past weekend’s Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, I witnessed the now infamous blackout as well as the blown holding call on the last meaningful play of the game that probably robbed the Niners of their sixth Super Bowl win. But that’s neither here nor there.
What I also witnessed while watching the big game was the scintillating halftime performance by arguably the most popular female pop star of our generation. Now, I can appreciate Beyoncé strutting around on top of a foggy, fiery, holographic stage as much as the next person.
I don’t intend to sound like some deranged parent aiming to shield their children from the real world for as long as possible. I just think that, in retrospect, we need to look at Ms. Knowles-Carter’s performance from a broader perspective.
Lest we forget, the reason that this was the first Super Bowl since 2004 to feature a relevant — and I use that word loosely — artist at halftime was because of the incredible embarrassment and backlash that followed the most famous wardrobe malfunction of all time.
If you need a refresher, that was when Justin Timberlake fulfilled his own lyrics and actually did have Janet Jackson naked by the end of his song. Since then we have had the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, The Black Eyed Peas and Madonna to keep the country entertained between the second and third quarters.
Somehow, most of the people I’ve talked with thought this was some sort of travesty, which I can’t explain — except maybe in Prince’s case — but I’m not really here to talk about my objections on how society perceives free shows put on by some of the greatest musicians to ever grace the industry.
The real issue here is the fact that Beyoncé’s performance was riddled with the kind of sexually charged imagery the NFL was deliberately trying to move away from for the past eight years. I do understand this.
It’s what the people want, and it was a pretty standard performance in terms of that genre of music these days. And again, personally, I enjoyed it. But the problem for me is more of a hypocritical one rather than a moral one.
As I mentioned before, according to the Los Angeles Times, 108 million people watched the game on Sunday, and 104 million of those people stayed tuned in to watch Beyoncé at halftime. I feel the need to reiterate to drive home the point that the Super Bowl, along with whatever performance is on during half time, is consistently one of the most watched television programs every single year.
Thus, with such numbers, there are invariably going to be a significant amount of children watching the game — a number of whom would not be allowed into something like a PG-13 movie without a parent precisely because those films might feature imagery comparable to what we saw Beyoncé do Sunday night.
If you want to make the argument that her performance wasn’t at all sexual, I ask that next time you watch it, allow yourself to be surrounded by a group of slightly drunk, 20-something college males and listen to the things they say as Beyoncé strips off her coat a quarter of the way into the first song.
There are a lot of people who work very hard to combat the rampant sexual imagery alive within the world of pop culture today, and despite their best efforts, most children are exposed to it anyway. But if we are going to work so hard to keep children who many feel are too young to view such imagery away from the likes of it, why broadcast something of the nature directly over something a tremendous number of them will be watching?
Regardless of whether Beyoncé’s performance was suitable for the majority of the population, it still just feels a little like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bringing back Bruce Springsteen. Just please no more Black Eyed Peas.
Anthony Bellafiore is a junior majoring in economics and English and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. Email him at email@example.com.