Everything must now produce social progress: Jennifer Lopez demonized by strippers for her Superbowl halftime poledance

February 6, 2020 • 11:00 am

I haven’t seen the new movie Hustler, but have read that it’s about a group of strippers who get empowered and bilk rich guys; and it’s supposed to be pretty good. Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez have been singled out for their performances, and Lopez reprised her Hustler performance in the Superbowl halftime show, in which she did a bit of pole dancing. I’ve put it below. I think it’s pretty good, and the contentious pole dance, see below, begins at 8:25.


JLo isn’t the only star who’s done pole-dancing in movies. I found a list of actresses who played strippers here; they include Marisa Tomei, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Mena Suvari, and Constance Wu. Sandra Oh also played one, and did pole-dancing, along with about half of the stars I’ve just listed.

I have no issue with strippers, pole dancers, or prostitutes, though I don’t patronize them or their clubs; and I do think that sex work should be legalized for the safety of everyone. Nor do I recall anybody—save, perhaps, right wingers—raising the alarum when these well-known actors played strippers or did salacious dances in movies.

No, the objections now come from the Offense Brigade, in this case, from strippers themselves, who object to the “vocational appropriation” of people like Lopez and Wu portraying them in movies and the Superbowl performance—and without helping strippers! The temerity of it!

You can read this Pecksniffery in (of course) HuffPo, in an article written by a stripper, sex worker, and pornographic actress (click on the screenshot)

Here’s a scene from Hustlers in which Lopez shows the neophyte Constance Wu how to use the pole:

Stanger and some of her fellow strippers, who apparently didn’t object to the movie “Hustlers”, did object to Lopez’s performance in the video I linked to above. Why? Because they expropriated pole-dancing for their own selfish purposes, without ever thinking about the pole-dancers who labor in clubs. (Yes, these women often have a hard life, as the environment is seedy and can be dangerous.) Here’s Elle Stanger’s beef:

The halftime pole performance referenced the 2019 movie ”Hustlers,” in which Lopez played a fictionalized character loosely based on a former stripper. JLo’s brief pole performance came just days after Dua Lipa was criticized as “exploitative” and “unfeminist” for tipping real working strippers at a Grammys afterparty, although I’ll argue that tipping a highly stigmatized working woman is the most feminist thing you can do.

But folks rarely inquire how actual strippers feel.

When I saw JLo slowly climb a stripper pole, I felt annoyed, frustrated and angry. Here we go again, I thought, another celebrity using the “shock value” of sex work to boost her career and the media once again using stripper imagery for ad revenue. I got texts from a few stripper friends who felt similarly.

. . .It is not progress to see a celebrity briefly doing a pole dance on television when real middle-aged strippers struggling to make ends meet in the post-FOSTA-SESTA era is a much more common reality. (Yes, there are women hustling at that age, and some with better pole work.)

“She took stripper culture for her personal gain, to look cool by doing one pole trick, and she has not contributed to strippers in any way,” said stripper and social media creator @womenswhork on Instagram.

. . . I appreciate what being a stripping has done for me and I believe in the value of safer adult entertainment and consensual contact work. With education and destigmatization, I believe we will someday value our sacred whore entertainers. In the meantime, I disagree that a celebrity actor using a pole as a prop is paving the way for any of us.

First, remember that neither Shakira nor Lopez were paid above union scale for their performances, as Superbowl halftime acts are always paid virtually nothing (except for expenses). (The performances do, of course, boost their careers.)

But . . the movie “Hustlers” (which of course was supposed to enhance every participating actors’ career), is said to have been empowering, as a bunch of savvy strippers take control of their lives and use their positions to bilk a bunch of gullible men. Lopez’s performance at the Superbowl was simply meant to refer back to that movie. Why on earth should she be remiss in not asking how “actual strippers feel”, or feel obligated to to “contribute to strippers”? There are any number of comparable beefs that could be made; readers can think of many. The idea is that if you play a character in a movie it then becomes your obligation of the actor to help some of the real-life people you’re portraying. But that’s ridiculous. You can help if you wish, of course, and that would be a nice gesture, but you’re under no obligation, nor should you be called out if you just move on. But it’s still unclear to me what Jennifer Lopez is not supposed to do for strippers.

But Lopez was not exploiting strippers, nor was she really engaged in “occupational appropriation,” for her movie actions hurt nobody. In fact, if they did anything, they helped strippers. Elle Stanger is just using the Superbowl performance to get her membership card in the Outrage Brigade. For the life of me, I can’t see any merit in her complaint.

But it gets worse, and I’ll let you read the article below for yourself, which actually comes from NBC News (click on screenshot). Constance Wu, bless her, is now doubly damned: she was not only appropriating stripper culture, but is acting out a “model minority” (Asian) redemption narrative. That is, all ends well for Constance Wu’s character. And that’s “problematic.” If you want to read how the Woke can torture a movie into submission because it doesn’t conform perfectly to their ideology, this is the article for you:

40 thoughts on “Everything must now produce social progress: Jennifer Lopez demonized by strippers for her Superbowl halftime poledance

  1. I just heard that serial killers are feeling marginalized and pissed at Hollywood exploiting them in movies and not sharing profits from the many successful films with them.

    1. Didn’t care for the music but I’m impressed that she can dance like that at 50. I wasn’t that bendy at 50, or 40.

  2. I did not know the pole was a film reference. When we watched the half time show, my only remark was that “we have descended into Weimar”.
    I don’t have any issues with actual strippers, but feel there is a time and place for such performances.
    Also, it seems like bringing hyper sexual performance into the mainstream while simultaneously advocating for puritanical views on sex, is the sort of contradiction that ends poorly.

      1. Not the NFL so much, as society generally.
        Remember “Hylas and the Nymphs” being withdrawn from public view?
        “Grid girls” banned from Formula 1?

        “It’s time to call this out for what it is: demeaning to women and an anachronism that ought to be beneath the male fans to whom this titillating eye candy is served.” USA Today, on NFL cheerleaders.

        Matt Taylor landed a little metal box on Comet 67P/C-G after a voyage of 4 billion miles. After the mission, he broke down in tears and apologized, deeply sorry for the offense he caused by wearing a shirt that was made for him by a female colleague, but which featured somewhat suggestive pin-up imagery.


        1. I see. The ‘contradiction’ is in society generally advocating for puritanical views on sex while the NFL puts on a sexualized halftime show. I agree that this is a conflict.

        2. I’m reminded of the Millenial (or whoever) retort, “OK, Boomer.” I’m contemplating embossing a T-Shirt with, “Boomer, OK?”

  3. “…the problem with model minority redemption narratives.”

    As if that’s a common theme in movies. Really? How many actual movies have a model minority redemption narrative, anyway? And I could watch this movie a number of times, and not once would I think…Man, that was a great example of a model minority redemption narrative. Why do people want to think like this? The fake outrage culture is beyond tiring.

    1. The article makes perfect sense if you view woke cultural criticism as a competitive game. The goal is to take a commonly accepted cultural practice or popular piece of art (“art” construed broadly to include books, movies, music, or dance) and show that underneath the surface it is problematic because it insults an oppressed minority. It’s like literary criticism, but the more strained and counter-intuitive your conclusions, the more woke credibility you acquire. You get bonus points if you can take down a high-value target loved by Middle America.

      For instance, if you really want to show your woke credentials, you could argue that football itself is problematic — maybe because it normalizes violence or perpetuates stereotypes about African American athletic prowess. The possibilities are endless.

  4. Traditional Christian view: Stripping is bad because it encourages lascivious thoughts, which are ungodly.

    Radical Feminist view: Stripping is bad because it objectifies women and treats them like commodities.

    Woke view: Stripping is good because it is empowering to the women who practice it, but other women who are not professional strippers should not “appropriate” stripper moves because this disrespects real strippers who suffer some kind of intangible injury because of said appropriation. Or something. On the flip side, stripping is bad if the wrong ethnic group does it.

    . . . Is there a consistent woke policy on this? If the woke are going to complain, can they at least get a coherent ideology worked out? The goal posts are always moving.

  5. It was a prostitute and porno film actress with a Masters Degree in Psychology who introduced me to the wacky world of SJWs a little over five years ago.

    I really enjoyed watching the internecine warfare between the Sex Positive Intersectional Feminists ™, and the Sex Negative Radical Feminists lol.

    And to make things even better, she was an Anarcho Communist !!!

    And then there was the time nearly five years ago when she went on social media, and told the entire world that she was moving into my house! Long story !!!

    The joke was on me. She never came !!!

  6. To think I naively thought that the Superbowl was about American ‘football’, some sports competition… I stand corrected!

  7. It’s wonderful that Jennifer Lopez is still dancing and dancing well. It is interesting to see her teach some of it. About four years ago, I came across this pole dancing competition somehow and thought it was so beautiful. The grace, athleticism, and artistry are incredible. This is from the Great Midwest Pole Dance Convention.

    Liquid Motion’s “Single” Routine.

    This one is from the movie Away We Go. It’s more emotional.

    Away We Go Pole Dancing Scene

  8. FWIW, the movie where Sandra Oh played a stripper was Dancing at the Blue Iguana. IIRC, Daryl Hannah and Jennifer Tilly co-starred, so you can add them to the list, too.

  9. To quote TransGendered Author, Caitlin R. Kiernan

    “And, in the end, no one ever said anything ever again that could possibly offend anyone, so great was the fear of retribution. It was safer not to speak. No one felt oppressed or triggered ever again. Outrage and offense became a thing of the past, along with comedy and art, literature and casual conversation, film and, for that matter, sex. And there was peace and bland silence and a smothering grey stillness where once there had been a vibrant culture.”


  10. Well, I didn’t watch at the time, seeing as it’s, like, Superbowl hype.

    BUT I just watched a bit of the clip at 8:25 and wow! I’m impressed. Did JLo just climb that freakin’ pole herself? I couldn’t do that! Not even when I was her age.

    (As for the ‘cultural appropriation’ dreck, get a life!)


  11. I’m a teacher. I was marginalized and victimized by Sidney Poitier and Peter O’Toole in their movies about teachers. Can I sue?

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