The conversation continues. . . and so it should. . . because these things do indeed matter. (Here’s what I wrote on Monday). And lest you think that all those who care are only singling out the few minutes and participants we saw on Sunday night, that’s not true. What we saw was a brief and wide-open peek into a widely-held and fast-spreading cultural narrative that’s so deeply embedded in our world and ourselves that it is largely invisible. We know that’s the case for the simple reason that when it is brought to light, the push-back is that it doesn’t even exist. . . or if it does in fact exist, it just doesn’t matter.
I’ve been tracking with the back-and-forth on social media. This morning, I ran across some insightful and heart-felt words from my friend Mindy Summers. Mindy is a young wife and mother who six years ago began a ministry to people who are making a living in the sex-industry. The ministry is called “SoLoved.” Mindy and her team don’t desire any attention, and I asked her permission to share the focus of the ministry and her words. She says, “We are a team of women and men (prayer & security) who reach out to women here locally within the sex industry. Our entire goal is to build relationship & sisterhood with the ladies in the clubs. We want them to know they are loved, valued, seen & that we so enjoy who they are. Every month we bring gifts, homemade treats, handwritten love notes and homemade meals to each club. It has been a true honor & joy. Our vision statement is this: ‘Ministering to women in the sex industry, helping them see they are valued and dearly loved by Jesus, and believing for lasting freedom for their lives.'” Mindy and her team are living the Gospel.
Here’s what Mindy posted the day after the Super Bowl. Her words are filled with hope, truth, and compassion. . .
After I put my babies to bed tonight I ventured online to see this halftime show everyone was talking about…
As I watched two incredibly talented and beautiful women…my eyes welled up with tears.
This is the thing- I am not sheltered. I spend hours in strip clubs every month. Hours. I’ve been doing this for nearly 6 years. I’ve seen a lot of stuff. Our SoLoved team desires to build relationships with the precious women within the walls of these establishments. They are treasures. Most of them are there because of childhood trauma & abuse, lack of opportunity and/or manipulation or coercion. They didn’t dream of this. It isn’t empowering…it’s where they are and they are doing the best with what they’ve been dealt.
…and the men. The men who go…most of them are sorting out their own brokenness within these walls. Porn addiction, broken relationships, loneliness, power trips & addiction are many of their stories.
The supply for the USE of women is due to the demand. The demand is 100% fueled by a hyper sexualized culture.
This all seems expected within the walls of a strip club, right? Sad…but expected.
If that isn’t heartbreaking enough…this. Tonight on a Superbowl halftime show…two super talented women chose to share their God given talents with the football fans by pole dancing and thrusting with little clothes on. In front of the whole world. The moves, the poles, the song lyrics…the sex industry was glorified as empowering tonight.
Let me tell you. That is a LIE. These two ladies choose to shake their tails for the world to gawk at…but there is nothing empowering about women being the recipients of the onlooker’s sexual attention. They have body guards to walk them off the stage. Most women just get a can of mace.
We say we are tired of rape, sexual assault and young girls being told their body is what gives them value…BUT THEN we go and we INVOLVE YOUNG GIRLS in the very scene…at a football game…and the crowd goes wild & we clap and praise it.
So dear young girl-
I bet you are super confused. We tell you that YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY. We tell you that what’s inside is what needs to shine. We tell you that you have a MIND AND A SOUL. We tell you to take self defense classes, carry mace, watch out for date rape and don’t let a guy pressure you. BUT THEN…we entertain you with pole dancing, thrusting, hyper sexualized lyrics & seductive facial expressions…and we clap for it.
We tell you that women can do anything. Women are equals. Then we bring out two influential women to entertain us…with what? Sex.
Don’t buy into the lie. Women do have minds. They also have self respect. The things that are done in bedrooms and inside strip clubs should never be performed on a stage for strangers and children to watch. And you know what…I’m sorry that this is how things are. You deserve a better world. A world where women are empowered and can use their God given talents in ways that don’t scream sex. Because again…that’s not why women are here.
So dear girl…be proud to be female & don’t for one second believe the lies. Keep offering your gifts to the world in meaningful ways. Be kind. Be a friend. Dance. Paint. Sing. Play. Lead. Learn. Grow. Serve. Think. Do hard things. Change the world.
Again- I’m sorry that you live in a day when you can’t watch a football game without hyper-sexualization. How sad for us…all of us.
I know there will be some who shrug me off as judgmental and want to rave about how talented these superstars are…and let me just say…yes I know they are talented. No doubt. As for the judgmental part- my heart is not out of judgement…but concern for young girls and the messages we are sending about women. God help us.
(If you’d like to contact Mindy directly, you can do so at email@example.com)
Here’s a link to one of our favorite books for teenaged girls. . . all about where to find identity in today’s sexually-charged/image- conscious world. . . Face Time: Your Identity In A Selfie World.
To learn more about the pressures on our girls, listen to this episode of our Youth Culture Matters podcast. . .
Please note: We have turned off commenting for this particular post. An increasing number of comments lacked civility. It is our hope that our posts and resources result in the kind of civil discussion reflecting respect for one another. Thanks for understanding.
I’m an older youth leader and I asked a group of YL friends how they felt about the halftime show. The comment from the 20-something put it all out there! She said, “My whole life that kind of thing has been in front of me. My generation is used to it.”
Beth, I agree. It’s no longer shocking. I was disappointed when my daughter said she liked it! 🙁
My reaction tonthe Super Bowl halftime show was pretty much the same. It makes me very sad that women degarde themselves in such azeay. I want my daughters and their daughters to respect tjhemselves to present themselves in more appropriateays. However, we constantly bombsrd them witth negative imageswhether it is of two beautiful talented wonmen dancing as if they are part of a strip show.. tthis is the twenty-first century; we don’t have to degrade ourselves for men’s leasure.
I see it also i. Television shows such as”The Bachelor” where women fighteacjh other for thehypotheticsl Prince Chsrming. We’re better than this, ladies.
thank you Walt and thank you Mindy – 100% agree – sadly our generations are numb to any sense of decency and morality let alone Godly values – heartbreaking indeed
Was so vulgar,and millions of children watching. SHAMEFUL
I agree Evelyn. I am 80 years old so I was taught to respect my Godly body. Watching for only a short time I had to leave the TV because it really upset me that millions of people had to watch the vulgar display!
shameful performance, a woman who flaunts her body like that is prideful, egotistical, and self centered. These are all hindering spirits that will destroy and kill the soul. It also tells us that these woman could care less about the children who were in the stands at this game!! A good rule to follow would be this: would Jesus approve of this performance and stand up and clap? would He even attend such a show? The world has been subjected to this sort of sinfulness little by little until it is not viewed as anything but normal. Guess what, that is Satan’s plan and he sure is celebrating the fact that the world is accepting it…..I AM NOT ACCEPTING IT AND NEVER WILL
Maybe instead of judging these women who you’ve never met as prideful, egotistical, and self centered you could show some grace and consider that they are just as broken as we are. They need Jesus not condemnation. Jesus didn’t throw stones, he died in our place.
Walt, I don’t think Deidrah was responding to Mindy. I think she was responding to the comment under which she posted, where Susan uses the words “shameful, prideful, egotistical, and self centered”
I agree with you Kerry. She was in the response to the comment above. You can see that her reply is indented and not new. Hopefully Walt rectifies as I don’t think he realized his response was not appropriate.
Yes Deidrah! Amen!
I’m 67 years old, and a male. I spent 20+ years in the US Navy. Trust me when I say I know my way around females. I used to be one of those “strip club guys” Being a thinking person, I always wondered why some of these ladies do what they do. I spoke with more than one, and asked them WHY. I found most of them to be of above average intelligence, and beautiful as well. They pretty much quit talking to me, unless I bought them a drink, or wanted a “table dance”. I guess I was trying to tell them that they were capable of SO much more. It’s a sad time we live in, when it’s OK to use your body as an object. I long for the days when it wasn’t like this. I love everything about ladies, and the fact that we are so much different. I value their intelligence, wit, and wisdom. The body only lasts in all its beauty, for a short time. We will ALL be 80, fat, bald, and using a walker. I want my legacy to be that I held in high regard, all of the beauty of the human soul.
Sad the strip-club girls didn’t want to hear positive words of empowerment; b/c, as much as ‘they’ want out of the life-style, they are addicted to the $$$money/income-life it provides. They feel stuck w/o any other occupational income or skill. Sad !!
This is such a good response. We live in a world where everything is just the norm. I know God would not be pleased. Women should be modest and respectful of themselves and especially in front of our daughters and sons.
This type of behavior goes with professional football! It promotes violence toward women all over the country before, during, and after these big games. This is bad behavior, the entire football scenario is bad vulgar violent behavior, watching the gladiators as it were! This football is subsidized by the government! It needs to stop. It abuses the players bigtime for a base reason.
Another issue is the fact they trying to say it was all culturally appropriate.
Absolutely appalling for the women and children watching this show, what a powerful message for both little boys and girls as we all know the sex trade is just as tough on boys as it is girls.
Is this this the message we want to send to the world about America! Is this what this country glorifies as culture?
Who ever said the Superbowl is a family friendly event?
I find it hard to believe this so called performance got past the sensors. It is amazing to me that women would be responsible for damaging other women as just a sexual being. If they make their living that way it is their choice, but why should we be subjected to that on a Sunday prime time family time? I doubt you would ever see someone that can really sing behaving that way…Adele, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin (i know she has passed) So lets just call this what it is: an unacceptable form of disgusting behavior for attention when you really have no singing talent. I get it, you are two pretty women, but do you really have to set other women back by decades flaunting stripper moves on national t.v. on a Sunday? It was WAY out of line.
Why do women feel attacked by what other women do?! It’s absurd. Unless someone said this is for you Debra, it’s not a personal attack. That’s like saying I parked my Mercedes next to your Kia as a personal attack to you. Or I ate my steak while you had a cold cut sandwich because I wanted to offend you. Taking care of your body takes dedication and willpower. Dancing like that and singing for that duration takes talent and stamina. It’s empowering for women to know that they can take charge of their bodies and they and THEY ALONE dictate how their bodies will be used.
It was a sad representation of women. But it doesn’t stop there. Hollywood continues to put out movies and TV about killing, murder, rape, drugs, sex, violence, etc. and then they wonder why there are victims. It’s all trash and it’s the way mega production companies make money. And they say it’s ok.
Video games teach kids how to steal cars, kill people, cops, fight bloody wars, even do drugs. They put ratings out there but there is no real way to keep kids from indulging. Responsible parents try, but we can’t be over their shoulders 24-7.
So sadly I wasn’t shocked by the Super Bowl performance. Was it inappropriate? Absolutely. But it has become the norm in the entertainment industry.
Thank you to those who try and make a difference tho. Many kudos to you for your bravery and courage. God speed.
Thank you so much for writing this. It’s an important message that cannot be said enough or emphasized enough. I haven’t heard of your ministry work prior to this (a friend shared the link on her Facebook page) but it is truly important and I’m very glad you’ve undertaken it in the area where you live. I recently retired after 10 years of working in a county public defender office with far too many cases for the staff and I have a good understanding of less-than-ideal circumstances that lead or force people into making poor decisions in order to survive.
A point I’d like to make is that yesterday (Feb. 5) was National Women & Girls in Sports Day — which, when you compare that idea to the Super Bowl halftime show, is about as far apart as two concepts/issues about women can get. I’m in my 60s now and started competing in sports in high school and continue to this day with 5K races, triathlons and pickleball. I am comfortable with who I am (married, 3 kids, 3 grandkids) and I feel truly sorry for women of any American cultural subset or income level who think and accept that sexual exploitation of any type is “normal” or “just the way it is.” On some levels, “just the way it is” is still a part of our male-dominated culture, but on many levels, it’s not — and that needs to continue to change.
Women in sports have come a long way since Title IV was passed in 1972 but we still have a long way to go. By the same token, we still have a long way to go before “Me Too” and other aspects of the sexualization of women in American culture is no longer either automatic or accepted — but you are making an excellent start and steady progress. Keep up the good work!
These two beautiful and talented women who could give a wonderful show and still be an example for good chose to put on a show that should not have happened. Ladies, is this where your best thoughts are?
I sometimes help Theresa Flores. She dies the SOAP thing at all big events like Super bowl, Indy 500etc. They leave soap in hotels with a number to call to get out of it. Read her book The Slave Across the street. Very eye opening. Autobiography.
Needs an edit…does not dies.
Humans have evolved to procreate and survive.
Who are the ones advocating that half time display of a very personal aspect of procreation. Who are these people that want to degrade the morality of society. Rather than point a finger and complain, we need find out who makes those choices and hold them accountable.
I love your words and concern. Personally, I think the entertainment was a disgrace, but as you said, the world is becoming numb to the disgraces we see everyday…..it’s becoming the norm. Sad for us as a nation, that apparently cares nothing about our biblical guidance so necessary to maintain a civilized country, in every sense. Thank you for taking a stand, for so many think we are wrong. Prayers for the people of our nation.
We can’t expect the world to have the same convictions as the spirit filled. This world is flesh. We are here to have His word in us. We can’t expect those without His word to act as if they do. All of this is judgement. We need to have absolutes but do we need to condemn or talk about those who don’t? Continue to parent… Continue to pray over your children. That’s all we can do. I’m disheartened by the politics of today. I am saddened by the loss of truth and I believe we all play a part in the madness of this world. Entertainment will never change. Sex will always be sold. I’m thankful for the sex trafficking ministries. They’re very needed.
I hope this message will get to the powers that be in the NFL. I don’t honestly believe that all men loved that half time show at the super bowl.
They missed their chance to show something wholesome for families who were there and at home watching. The football players were not watching and some of them would NOT have approved of the half time show. Please never put another show like that on for everyone in the world to see at a super bowl. We are better than that!!
Walt, may I please share a link to this on my blog?
Yes – thanks.
I loved the halftime show….then i read all the concerns in this post, and gave it a serious REthink…and i still love it….i can’t imagine any young girls being pushed toward the sex trade, but i CAN imagine girls and women being empowered by pride in their femininity as one aspect of their total being…cheers shakira and jlo for so beautifully sharing this positive message
Yes Dan! If what’s going on in your home is appropriate and fosters a safe place for understanding and learning, that performance, nor a video game, is going to push your child into the sex trade, or a life of crime; that’s not what’s going to make your spouse cheat. Why are people so shamelessly always looking outside to find someone else to blame?
In general, I thought J-Lo and Chakira exhibited self-assurance, strength, athleticism, and much talent. The main thing that bothered me was the overt action of J-Lo’s in touching her private parts in a sexually suggestive way. Just like Michael Jackson and Madonna have done before her in the same forum. This is not necessary, and not acceptable to me for someone who serves as a role model for so many young girls. Most of my friends disagree with me.
However, I wouldn’t criticize this display without also criticizing the scantily-clad cheerleaders who equally and with less personal talent play to men’s sexual fantasies. Or without disgust at the outpouring of love for Kobe Bryant, a great athlete, guilty of rape.
Great words! I just don’t believe we have to watch the material that’s out there in order to interact with it. I think we (Christians) would have a far greater impact if we refused to give our eyes to such things – not in the name of superiority, but in the name of weakness. Instead of some who might say they are too good to see such things, I’m saying our God is too good for us to dilly-dally with such pathetic displays of “entertainment”. I’m definitely not saying the people are pathetic. We can be compassionate and loving to people without watching more and more of fallen nature under the sun.
What if everyone at the Superbowl who claimed they were Christians chose to go to the concessions or bathrooms, etc. during the halftime show? That would have been different!
It’s just really strange to me how so many Christians think they must watch so many distasteful movies, shows, etc. in order to be able to speak truth into them. You don’t! “Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1Cor14:20
“The supply for the USE of women is due to the demand. The demand is 100% fueled by a hyper sexualized culture.”
hmmmm when did this hypersexualized culture start as there were women being paid to dance for men in the Bible – King Herod.
people using their bodies as tool of commerce has been since dawn of time.
Let me guess who you all voted for? President trump? What about the leader of this country and what he represents? What about how he has treated women, spoken about women? But we are so quick to poo poo these women? Yes I agree it was a bit much, but let’s not turn a blind eye. I don’t know, the irony is too much for me!
This has nothing to do with politics / Just simply human decency. Too many people forget that we used to care about that!!!
It amazes me how there is always someone that wants to politicalize a discussion if the majority does not share their views. All they need to say is I respectfully disagree with your views and this is why. The end.
A 13 min show won’t make an impression on your kids but your actions or lack there of at home will. Kids see much worse sex and violence daily on TV and video games (most have lot of vulgar language and violence) yet most kids have their face constantly in their phones, iPads or video games and you are naive if you think they are watch bugs bunny cartoons. Even cartoons these days have lots of violence in them. That’s what you should be spending your energy griping about – the daily vulgar language and violence your kids or exposed to the copy cat (so many drugs, fights and murders are what they are seeing and copying)
I apologize that I am not commenting on the excellent article, but I was wondering if you could tell me who created the artwork on your page, the Life, Loss, Love, Life pictures? They are incredible!
David Arms. . . It’s called God’s story. A link to the narrative is on the right side of the page.
Is there any way to make sure these two women read this? Maybe they just do not realize how this show really comes across to so many. Especially in our society today where so many men are accused of sexual assault and yet this kind of thing is thrown in women’s faces, with the idea that this is empowering women!!!!!! God Bless the team that is going out to support the ladies and men in clubs!!!!!
What a woman wears gives no license to anyone to touch her without permission.
The Bible calls women the weaker sex, so the onus is not on the woman to be more modest as to not entice men who should know better to act like the Kingdom men they should be.
We need to improve our message to young women. Seems like we are talking out of both sides of our mouth to them. We need to realize this causes a. conflict for young women who are maturing and finding their way in the world.
I find it interesting that most of the people who seem hung up on what a dancer would wear or a pole dance (BTW, I’ve tried to do it myself..it takes INCREDIBLE athleticism) are the same people who seem fine with a POTUS who lies constantly, cheats on his wife (actually all of his wives), grabs them by the you-know-what, and pays off a porn star. Perhaps we should worry a bit more about what that says to our daughters.
Thanks for your comment TC. It would not be fair to say that “most of the people” would be hypocritical in their evaluation. While I would lament the hypocrisy that does exist among some, not all would be inconsistent in their evaluations of these values, attitudes, and behaviors.
I so agree with you, TC. You are so very right. Very well said.
Extreme non-modesty is being manufactured in clothes, TV programs….those are the choices in front of us daily…then why should we wonder why a half time show that was presented like this? Families were present, but this was not a family show. Stats show our country is stepping back from reg Christian church attendance, much less reg scripture reading; not making time to enhance VALUES, but making time for FUN activities….
As an artist I appreciate the beauty of the human body, as a human and know that movement and dance is beautiful, it is also very important to not flaunt!! Every thing has a good and bad!! Pornography, human trafficking is disgusting!! I have a video “Take the Lead” about Pierre Dulaine’s work with delinquent and troubled kids in schools using dance! Hopefully we can teach our kids to win over the flesh and the Devil!!!
I do not believe these women are talented. People wouldn’t even bother to watch them or listen to them if they didn’t dress the way they do. Talented women do not have to dress that way, showing everything they’ve got. I never saw Barbara Streisand dress that way. Or back in my day, you never would have seen Patti Page dress that way.
For anyone who doesn’t understand “why they hate us” (“they” meaning those who hate America), that halftime show is the answer. Its not just American kids who are affected by it. Kids all over the world see that and think it’s better because it’s American. They hate us because we’re polluting their kids and there’s nothing they can do about it.
This is really difficult to digest coming from the right wing view that women create and incite sexual assault. This is the same group that twists their own integrity to support and justify a President as “the chosen one” who has been married 3 times, committed adultery at least three times, has publicly degraded women and been accused of sexual assault. Yes, people can change, but where are the acknowledgements of wrong-doing, apologies, or expression of remorse. It is all related and this author suggests double standards all over the place. Where is her outrage over children in cages that were so artfully included in the dance. Was she so occupied with the sexuality that she missed the message? That’s how little people become broken in the first place – the lack of nurturing caregivers as they grow up. The righteous indignation is a bit much.
Comments are closed.