Jennifer Lopez challenges anyone who believes a 45-year-old mother of two cannot be and feel sexy.

“It’s like, ‘How do you think I got my children,’” the singer-actress told Complex magazine about the criticism surrounding her sexy “Booty” music video. “The truth is I don’t want to do anything that (my kids) would be embarrassed of in the long run. But at the end of the day, they care more about me being there, taking care of them, than if I’m sexy in a video.”

The “American Idol” judge told the magazine that it’s all about what feels good in the moment and what feels right.

“I don’t think that in 10 years I’m going to be doing that either,” she said. “Women need to see that and feel that. You can’t let fear of what people might say or think stop you from doing what you want to do or else we would never do anything.”

In the interview, Lopez also said she still questions if past criticism had to do with her gender or heritage, bringing up specifically how critics reacted to her 2001 hit “Jenny from the Block.”

“People are dumb enough to have thought that you meant it literally, like you were still in the ‘hood’ or ‘She’s changed, she’s different, she’s so rich now, she’s not the same,’” she told the magazine. “It was a huge hit at the time, so I never thought of it any negative way. I didn’t feel like people were saying that – it’s probably better that I didn’t know.”

She continued: “Thank God I’ve been blessed in that way. But I’m the same person. They know that I’m still Bronx-y. I still wear hoops. I still like to rock sneakers and sweats. I always felt like I was out of place in Hollywood. But I also felt that the street smarts I had from growing up in New York served me well out here.”

The magazine noted that Lopez has had to endure rampant rumors throughout her career, including one that said she was requiring people to call her “J.Lo.”

“The rumors at that time were so endless,” Lopez said. “I still haven’t figured that all out completely. I’ve thought sometimes, “Was it because I was a woman? Was it because I was a minority? I was like, “Why me? Why are they picking on me so much? What have I done?” It’s funny. Men get praise when they are successful, like, ‘Look how great he’s doing.’ Women get criticized for some reason. I don’t understand it. All I know is that because I’ve stuck around for so long people realize, ‘Oh, that must not be true.’ ‘We finally got to know the real her’.”

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