By Staff Writer Zach Lunghi.
Following this year’s Super Bowl Halftime show, Adam Levine has found himself bearing the weight of a new internet feud.
Maroon 5’s front man is receiving multiple criticisms for performing the end of his band’s set while shirtless. The complaints that have surfaced refer to the double standard that men can be shirtless in certain situations as where women cannot be.
In support of their arguments, protestors have called back to Janet Jackson’s 2004, “Nipple Gate” controversy, where a wardrobe malfunction resulted in Jackson revealing more than she had anticipated. Jackson has had to babysit this event for a decent portion of her career, and fifteen years later, it is still being mentioned.
Levine’s actions have sparked a slew of debates, and people are questioning if it was okay of him to take advantage of such an obvious double standard in our society.
In addition to this conversation, somewhere around 540,000 individuals have reached out to the FCC and expressed their discontent with the front man. “Classless”, and “deplorable” are how FCC chairman, Michael Powell, referred to this event.
The questioning didn’t stop there, Twitter had a field day following the halftime show. ESPN host, Katie Nolan, shared her thoughts on Twitter when she wrote “Super Bowl halftime nipple rules feel inconsistent”. Twitter user, oops I didn’t again (absolutely fantastic username), questioned Levine’s ability to “strut around shirtless…” while Jackson had to issue an apology. (Referring to her 2004 incident.)
It seems that Levine is receiving an unfair amount of blame for this situation though. His actions may have been slightly questionable, but nowhere did he cross any boundaries. Now, suppose he had deliberately poked fun at having the ability to take his shirt of while a woman could not. Then yes, it’s deplorable. That just isn’t the case, he was clearly focused on the performance.
However, we’re now presented with a very hot debate. Why can men go shirtless, where the situation permits, while a woman cannot? Many have aimed to address this double standard, but a certain stigma still surrounds the thought of a women going shirtless in the same scenario a man could be found in.
There is no reason Janet Jackson should be ridiculed for her nip slip incident, especially while Levine can proudly flaunt “California” written across his stomach with no hesitation. This double standard is illogical and is rooted in a dated way of thinking. Times are changing and the mindset we hold needs to evolve with it. The hashtag, “Free the Nipple”, is more than just some comment middle school aged boys use to post under each other’s photos.
I personally feel that this “Free the Nipple” movement bears a much larger weight than we give credit to. Maybe, at surface value, it’s just a call for the ability to go shirtless within the same confines as men, and that’s understandable. However, it is based around the underlying theme of equality and, fairness between genders. It echoes other movements, such as the call for equal pay or breaking the glass ceiling within companies.
Sure, what Levine did wasn’t completely fair but, I don’t think we should gunning him down. If anything, we should be using this as platform for conversation. This is an obvious point of contention in our society and, this event could actually aid in helping to resolve it.