Yesterday was the 54th annual Super Bowl, including the much debated Half Time show. Allow me to preface this article by sharing the fact that I loathe football. I did time in Texas and so feel a scoshy bit traumatized from the religion that is Texas football.
Naturally when the Super Bowl comes around, everyone in my house becomes excited. Mind you, these people have never watched 2 seconds of regular season, but given the promise of overly fatty, salty snacks and some hilarious commercials they're in.
(Thank you Smaht Pahk)
Everyone except me...
It isn't just the PTSD I suffered from Texas footballs, football moms and coaches. It's something entire different.
Some 1.5 million people in the United States are victims of trafficking, mostly for sexual exploitation, with a greater increase during the Super Bowl surrounding the week leading up to the event.
Granted, the human traffickers will get up on Monday morning and keep doing the same thing they did the days and weeks before. The Super Bowl just happens to bring in extra amounts of men who will gladly pay for sex while they are "letting loose". If you think you're significant other is exempt from these shenanigans, think again. And untold number of men engage in this kind of activity and wives and girlfriends are none the wiser. The saddest truth of all, many of these men have no idea the women they just spent the evening with are there under compulsion.
After this year's halftime show, my social media newsfeed was blowing up with rant after rant. as well as tremendous praise from my Latina friends~ "Absolutely disgusting", or "This half time super bowl was 🔥🔥🔥🔥 one of the best ones I’ve ever watched #proudlatina #latinapower" or "crotch shots are in for 2020", or "If I can be half the women these ladies are by their age I would be extremely happy-Best half time in a long time!!!!"
After a few moments of reading I was beginning to feel a bit bipolar.
Living in a community that is predominantly Dominican and Puerto Rican, I was so proud for my precious friends having the chance to cheer on their own women and their successes, marvel that at age 50, any woman could look that way. I loved seeing those women dance in the way they felt comfortable and creative.
When I read my newsfeed and the remarks that this show somehow exploited sex and yada yada yada, I pumped the breaks... It showed me how ignorant we are as a culture on just what human trafficking is. And what it is not. As a woman who champions against this horrific act, I was blown away that so many had no clue what exploits sex and trafficking in our own nation.
Let me be crystal clear.
Those woman had a choice to be on that stage, to wear what they wore and dance the way they danced. They. Had. A. Choice.
The women who are trafficked, everyday, around the world, do not have a choice.
A little louder for those in the back.
They DO NOT have a choice.
If any of us are truly upset by the exploitation of women, then we sure as hell have no business watching the Super Bowl or, and churches, I'm talking to you, hosting Super Bowl parties. In doing so, we are giving a hardy approval of all things Super Bowl, including the shenanigans that go along with in.
Sitting back, reading through all the comments, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I allowed the culture to press in on my family when I should have drawn a line in the sand an said our family will not support a game that hides the fact that human trafficking rises dramatically after it has been played.
I should have been honest with my children and shared actual images of young women. I should have done a lot of things different...
I would however have watched the halftime show on YouTube, because unlike my peers, I appreciate art, cultures and expressing those things differently.
The halftime show was not an example of sex exploitation, and if you are in the camp that thinks it was, you are misinformed. And I would need to ask, why would you allow your family to watch and cheer on an event that behind closed doors, allow a much darker secret to go on, much more than JLo being dresses in a way that suited her brand?