Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

I enjoyed watching the Super Bowl the other evening. As the teams went to their locker rooms at halftime, I picked up my iPad to look at some social media. I was not really watching the halftime performers. As the first act was coming to a close, my attention was drawn to the screen because of the complaints of my grown children. I watched about one minute. I found it pretty inappropriate. About that time they were setting the stage for the second act. When the pole arrived I turned off the TV.

I am really fascinated by the different reactions to the show. Virtually everybody I know held the firm opinion that what was offered on the stage was vulgar and inappropriate for any audience, but especially for the audience which included families. All of the talking heads on news channels or sports channels hailed the show as fantastic. Many offered the perspective that it was good for women and was empowering. As offensive as the show was, I think this assessment of it is even more offensive and alarming.

We are the union of body and soul. Since Original Sin, men have had a terrible and sinful tendency to diminish women as objects for sexual gratification. Women have struggled to be seen as people with great gifts and competencies. Women are known as the heart of the home. Our mothers are often the ones who teach us how to be tender and how to love. It is often our mothers who teach us how to exist and behave in the family.

It is a common struggle for women in the work place to be appreciated for their abilities and skills, and to not be diminished into a sexual object. We so often see the high profile cases of men who have sexually abused and/or harassed women in the work place; diminishing them to objects. So, let’s be clear, the Super Bowl halftime show was NOT in any way, shape or form empowering of women. It was another example of how differently women and men are treated. I mean, I remember male singers from past Super Bowl performances, and none of them had to get mostly naked and do the things the women did at this last performance.

— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at

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