When paired singers dance provocatively during award shows or Super Bowl we, for the most part, hastily condemn the female. Think Miley Cyrus and Janet Jackson. The men they share the stage with, on the other hand, get off scot-free.
There would have been no twerking without Robin Thicke, or wardrobe malfunction without Justin Timberlake. Or, most recently, no highly suggestive moves by Beyoncé, without Jay Z.
Beyoncé, minimally dressed, gyrated seductively all around Jay Z in the Grammy’s opening number. And the blogosphere and some folks I encountered the following day blasted her “inappropriate dress” and “suggestive moves” at a time “kids were still watching.” No one commented on her husband’s participation.
Beyoncé took the hit.
Miley Cyrus continues to be derided and mimicked after twerking Robin Thicke during their performance at the VMAs. The talk shows and blogs were all over her for weeks. SNL convulsed with Miley skits, even bringing her on as a host in which she mocked her own performance (good for her). Whether you like Cyrus, hate her, or think she’s a wrecked ball, if Thicke hadn’t been on the stage with her she would have merely looked silly. Thicke, who’s 36 to her 20, by the way, and whose Blurred Lines video features all nude women, participated in the scene.
Cyrus took the hit.
And with Sunday’s big game approaching everyone recalls Janet Jackson’s ill-fated performance during which she sustained a purposeful wardrobe malfunction. Again, the so-called malfunction would not have happened if Justin Timberlake hadn’t ripped her top off, as rehearsed. But no one criticized Timberlake (who, yes, I adore). Without Timberlake there would have been no wardrobe malfunction.
Jackson took the hit.
Regardless of what you think of these and other suggestive performances (and the list is extensive in the music, film, and television industries) why is the woman the only one criticized? If you think a performance is too suggestive, then I respect that. If you think it’s tasteless and humiliating, I just might agree. But place blame where blame belongs. And that’s not just on the woman.
It takes two to tango.