JLo and Shakira's Super Bowl halftime performance was empowering, not objectifying. Here's why.

During the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday, America watched two women celebrate their careers, their bodies and their cultures.

Jennifer Lopez, 50, and Shakira, 43, performed a medley of their respective hits, along with some special guests, many costume changes and intricate choreography. Those costumes and choreography soon became a source of debate: In a #MeToo era, is a show filled with scantily clad women, suggestive dance moves and pole dancing really what we should be promoting?

But the #MeToo movement is about exposing wrongdoing and allowing victims to take back power. What better way to honor that than putting women in the driver's seat? In the debate over whether something is empowering or objectifying, it's important to check who holds the power. Lopez and Shakira did nothing Sunday night if not command power.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez wowed the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show crowd at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez wowed the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show crowd at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

Having a choice is big here: Concerns about objectification arise when the women in question don't have a say, or feel pressured into performing a certain way. The empowerment comes from the women onstage deciding on their own terms that they want to show off not just the way their bodies look, but all that they're capable of doing.

Lopez's pole dancing performance seemed to turn heads and raise eyebrows. It also seemed to pose the question of whether viewers had seen "Hustlers," her drama about women who work as strippers and scheme to take back control from the wealthy Wall Street employees who frequent their club.

As it did in the film, it raises complicated discussions about an industry long seen as demeaning and sexist. But women in recent years have reclaimed pole dancing as an empowering activity. Just Google "pole fitness class" to see myriad options near you. And there's no denying Lopez holding herself up horizontally in the air the way she did is anything less than amazing. (The core strength!)

Review: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira dazzle in one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows in memory

Some viewers said the performance wasn't "family-friendly." But Super Bowl performances are rarely squeaky-clean. Just last year, Adam Levine sang about swearing "to behave" while ripping off his tank top and performing the rest of his set topless. And need we remind everyone of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson?

Putting the world's biggest stars on the world's most-watched stage does not a G-rated concert make. Playing it safe isn't what got them to the Super Bowl, and it's not what they're going to do with their time in that spotlight.

If you don't know or don't like Shakira and Lopez, their often suggestive dance moves may make you shake your head. Maybe you're a parent of a child to whom you didn't want to explain why the people on TV were moving their bodies in that way.

But maybe you could explain that many of Shakira's moves were a tribute to her culture: belly dancing from her Middle Eastern side (her father is Lebanese) and a few Afro-Colombian dances later on.

Jennifer Lopez performs along with her daughter Emme during the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show.
Jennifer Lopez performs along with her daughter Emme during the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show.

Or focus on how cool it was that the show featured a cast of young girls – including Lopez's own 11-year-old daughter, Emme, singing "Born in the USA" – before cutting back to Shakira on the drums, all while Lopez donned an American flag cape with Puerto Rico's flag on the inside. Remind the next generation that their success is possible by being just who they are.

JLo and Shakira sitting on barstools in turtlenecks playing acoustic guitars wouldn't make for a good show, because that's not the kind of performance fans expect from them. Both women have made careers out of being confident, bold and unapologetic. The Super Bowl is not the time or place to change that or play things safe.

More: Meet Jennifer Lopez's daughter, the 11-year-old who stole the Super Bowl halftime show

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Super Bowl halftime: Why Jennifer Lopez, Shakira's show was empowering