Commentary

How JLo Shattered The Ageism Glass Ceiling In 2020

With headlines proclaiming “"Jennifer Lopez Doesn’t Need an Oscar, She Just Won The Super Bowl” and “JLo and the Power of 50,” Jennifer Lopez' triumphant Super Bowl halftime show was a true watershed moment.

It's almost as if Lopez has been on a one-woman mission to end ageism since turning 50 last July.

From playing a stripper in her acclaimed role in the movie “Hustlers” to walking the runway in a dress that referenced the headline-making Versace gown she wore at the Grammys 20 years ago, Lopez has shown she’s better than ever at age 50.

It was her Super Bowl performance, however, with 99.9 million on Fox alone and 102 million multiplatform viewers, that was the real turning point in how our culture views women over a certain age. 

Here’s why marketers must pay attention. 

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The New 50 is the Beginning, Not the End

What made Lopez' Super Bowl halftime performance so significant? The performance wasn't a comeback. Rather, it was a continuation of a long, diverse and accomplished career by a singer-dancer-actress and mother of two who shows no signs of slowing down.

In this way, Lopez is representative of her generation, which does not see 50 as a turning point between young and old.

Recently, television writer and producer Melissa Hunter tweeted, “At the end of 2020, instead of 30 Under 30 and NextGen lists, please profile middle-aged people who just got their big breaks. I want to read about a mother of 2 who published her first novel, a director who released their first studio feature at 47, THAT'S THE LIST WE WANT."

The response on Twitter was overwhelming, with people replying with stories of success and accomplishments in their 50s and beyond. 

Future Generations will Embrace 50

While Lopez' performance will resonate with and inspire women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, it also sends a strong message to the next generation.
Both Lopez and her halftime co-performer Shakira are moms. Lopez’s 11-year-old daughter Emme joined her mother onstage to sing “Let’s Get Loud.”

Following the performance, Lopez said, "This is what you can do, you can do anything you want to do. That’s what I want to teach my daughters, that’s what I want them to see, that’s what I want them to become: strong, independent women who speak up for themselves. That message tonight was use your voice, get loud."

Emme’s generation is likely to have an entirely new perspective on aging and what is possible at 50 and beyond.

What’s Next

As The New York Times observed, “It’s worth pointing out that Ms. Lopez is currently fashion’s favorite celebrity...This is no small thing in an industry famously obsessed by youth.”

For women of all ages and the brands that market to them, the moment is clear: Women past age 50 are a powerful demographic, and they are only just getting started.

1 comment about "How JLo Shattered The Ageism Glass Ceiling In 2020".
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  1. Marcelo Salup from Iffective LLC, February 19, 2020 at 3:25 p.m.

    Much as I admire JLO... if she is going to be the "new standard" by which women over 50 will be measured, everyone else is toast. We need to understand that 99.9999% of women over 50 do NOT look like JLO but are amazingly valuable to our society as well. Expertise, willingness to work hard, experience... those count too.

    Ageism is as corrosive as any bias... just more invisible. We need to fight it.

    https://www.yourgreymatters.org/blog/jenny-from-the-block-why-one-is-not-enough

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