The Never-Ending Trolling of Jennifer Lopez Is Deeply Rooted In Misogyny

Getty/Photo by Kevork Djansezian

Jennifer Lopez‘s illustrious career in music and film has once again taken a backseat to her love life. Despite her blockbuster hits, platinum-selling albums, sold-out tours, and a Las Vegas residency, the Latina megastar continues to be chastised about her romantic relationships. Front and center today is her marriage to Ben Affleck, with various opinions and rumors swirling on social media. But all the chatter points to one thing: blatant misogyny from internet trolls and the media that places the blame on Lopez for her failed relationships. From the divorce rumors to the cancellation of her tour, Lopez is being kicked while she’s down, and the public seems thirsty for it.

Today’s headlines paint a one-sided picture of Affleck navigating a tumultuous marriage to an overly ambitious, workaholic diva who can’t seem to get love right. These biased narratives seem to be one reason why Lopez released her film “This Is Me…Now” and its accompanying album by the same name, as well as the documentary that shows the behind-the-scenes of it all, “The Greatest Love Story Never Told.” Still, she can’t seem to break through the noise, the trolling, and the harassment bestowed upon her.

On June 5, Lopez addressed the situation to fans via her On The JLo newsletter, where she wrote: “It may seem like there’s a lot of negativity out in the world right now . . . but don’t let the voices of a few drown out that there is soooo much love out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I love you all so much.”

Let’s be clear: Lopez is being put through the wringer about her love life for two reasons. First off, she’s a woman – a powerful woman at that – and the second reason is because she’s Latina. The machismo culture is toxic and exists widely throughout Latin America and here in the United States. One 2022 study found higher rates of sexism among Latinos in the US and concluded that the reinforcement of the machismo narrative in the media is a misleading reproduction of harmful stereotypes against Latines. In other words, when the Latine community jumps to bashing J Lo, it leaves the door wide open for anyone else to join the bandwagon, forgetting that behind the hate is a woman, a mother, and someone who has never denied how much she loves love.

When gossip about her relationships prevails, it obscures Lopez’s triumphant success story. Lopez was able to obtain the American dream ten-fold. Still, instead of being continuously celebrated for this, all the attention is focused on things going awry in her love life. The public discourse always seems to harp on what she did wrong. Maybe she didn’t pay enough attention to her man, or her career demands strained their relationship. Or maybe her global fame was overshadowing poor, poor Ben. Let’s be real: if Lopez were a man, Latine or not, would this still be the case?

It’s not just Lopez. Take legendary actress and EGOT Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress who was married to Leonard Gordon for 45 years until his death in 2010. But before that, Moreno was scrutinized for her love affairs with Hollywood royalty like Marlon Brando and music superstars like Elvis Presley.

So, what are we telling little girls, Latine and otherwise, about being ambitious and successful? It’s similar to America Ferrera’s speech in “Barbie.” A woman can be successful but not too successful. She can shine like the brightest star as long as she isn’t blinding him or leaving him in the shadows. She can be strong but not appear stronger than her man in public. She can love herself, but not too much, because it will appear like diva-ish, self-centered behavior.

The greatest love story Lopez never told is how much she has had to love herself through very public relationships and the breakups everyone seems to be waiting for. After all, how could a woman choose her career over love, right?

Zayda Rivera is a POPSUGAR contributor. She has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. Z is a certified Reiki Master Teacher, yoga and Zumba instructor, mindfulness and meditation guide, tarot reader, and spiritual mentor.

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