It has been awhile since I have posted, but lets just say I felt recently inspired by Miley Cyrus’s 2013 MTV Video Music Award performance.
First, let me take you all back to the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show in which Janet Jackson’s right breast was revealed. If you’ve forgotten the performance, then please click HERE.
Watching Janet’s “controversial” performance after watching Miley Cyrus’s “performance” (click HERE to watch) makes you wonder what all the fuss was about when we all saw Janet’s boob! Personally, I still believe that Justin Timberlake did not mean to show Janet’s boob to the world or that he and Janet plotted to reveal a single breast during the last few seconds of the halftime show. Let’s discuss the boob itself for a second whose nipple was covered by a very decorative nipple ring. It’s just not as naked a boob as she could have easily gone for if the act was intentional. In terms of the dancing, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake are both great dancers and for the purposes of blogging, I will just categorize their moves as, “urban” or “pop.” I’ll need to use this category to further discuss why Miley’s performance was wrong, wrong, wrong later on. So Justin is following Janet around on stage and there is a body roll, suggestive snake moves against one another, followed by constant movement across the stage. Just like with most things in this world, there is an exchange of power, a granting of permission that implicitly occurs when two people dance. Within their performance Justin is the pursuer while Janet is elusive, yet flirtatious.
Can you remember the cultural climate in 2004? We most certainly did not have have Barack Obama as our country’s first multiethnic President – George Bush was getting ready to serve his second term as President and
- Facebook was launched as a social networking site (only open to Harvard students).
- Lance Armstrong was still making believers out of the public by winning his 6th consecutive Tour de France.
- Japan is devastated by earthquakes and typhoons that caused severe impact to its economy including a significant loss of life
- Martha Stewart goes to Jail!?!
The most popular films of 2004: Ray, The Aviator, Shrek, The Passion of Christ, Troy, Meet the Fockers… Long story short – America had not see a lot of “Black” in 2004. Maybe this is why seeing Janet Jackson’s boob (kind of) struck a note of terror into the hearts of many Americans. “Oh no! A black boobieeeee!”
I know, I know that people talk about the Super Bowl being a family event, but that does not mean that football it isn’t arguably violent. Some people like their family-friendly violence organized, contained in a secure structure – a.k.a a stadium. Don’t we just flock to our violence framed by bright lights, lightly coated with smiling cheerleaders and attractive football stars, rolled in music and served with sides of celebrities we love and fans that look just like us. Of course, football is violent – people get hurt and football is subject to the same vices (drugs, sex, greed, etc) that can entrap us all. The Super Bowl neither defines nor attempts to define fundamental religious values and for me is simply another show that should have an NC-17 rating. This won’t happen, not when so many Americans have their G-to PG-aged kids playing football.
I do love football though because of the way it makes me feel when I watch it on television or at stadium. I feel excited by watching aggressive play. I live vicariously through my favorite player or team through a victory or a loss. I undoubtedly identify with the contained violence of the game, so I’m not hatin’ – just merely suggesting that a fallen boob at a football game is not completely unexpected or tremendously inappropriate. Besides, if I wasn’t looking at Janet’s boobs, then I’m sure I’d be seeing some t&a on those closeup shots they do of the cheerleaders!
Me thinks that Miley was going for a possessed bear who believes herself to be a human stripper? Her moves in contrast to Janet’s and Justin’s were clearly, “stripper light.” For those of you who have been to the strip club know that her moves would be considered “light” or innocuous compared to any more experienced stripper. Irrespective of my own personal feelings about Miley and the lack of talent that she displayed during her performance (I actually think she can do better), I want to read and hear the language that was used for the Janet incident in 2004 with even harsher criticism!
“This signifies the downfall of the American family and Christian values!”
“Desperate career moves!”
“A disgusting outrage!”
“She is supposed to be a role model for white girls and young women!”
…for an entire year or more….
Wouldn’t this make sense and be fair media practice? The VMAs are likely watched by more children and teens and Miley’s performance continued on for agonizing minutes. The entire performance was disturbing and just kept escalating in raunchiness. We are so conservative about media images on one hand, but then on the other hand something that is in my opinion worse than a bit of boon nudity is allowed to be shown. When a non-dancer drops it likes it hot in a very sexual manner, it is not her sexuality that is coming out for the world to see – it is literally is her sex. Clothe.s that leave nothing to the imagination, moves that are not suggestive, just simply “are sex” and blatant gestures that won’t be missed by any teenager or adult (how could we with add from a large foam hand) make me wonder what the long-term discussions about these types of performances will be.
I know I could talk about the racial implications behind Janet and Miley’s performances. Did the public have a problem with a white male interacting flirtatiously with and pursuing an black female? Did Miley objectify those black women on stage to validate her own sexuality and dance moves? (Probably, but I like rap and discussing the objectification of black women within the music industry will not be a short post. I can say, however, that Miley isn’t the first to exploit black women).
Freedom of expression. I am all for it. Parents stepping in to control what their kids are watching- all for it. Mediia helping the public view content without bias – completely pro fair news reporting practices.