I only caught the last 10 minutes or so of the American Music Awards (AMAs) and apparently I caught the best, or at least most controversial part. No, not Taylor Swift winning a bazillion awards. I'm talking of course about Adam Lambert. Two things were going through my head during his performance. #1. This song kinda sucks. #2. Huh... he's being pretty sexual/risque in this performance.
Now, I didn't think either of these thoughts would make the morning news the next day, but clearly I was wrong. I didn't think Adam Lambert kissing a guy on stage during the performance was a big deal or would make headlines and I certainly didn't think the sexuality he exhibited would make news either. Yes, there was gyrating, yes there was bondage like costumes, yes there was even some sexual "simulation" but you know what, it was nothing I haven't seen before, mostly or almost exclusively by female performers. I am thinking Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Lil Kim, Lady Gaga, etc. If you think about some of the performances done by these ladies in the past, is it really that different in regards to the sexuality displayed in the performance than Adam Lambert's performance at the AMAs?
The firestorm after Adam's performance started almost immediately. He was scheduled to be on Good Morning America the next morning, on ABC, the same network that aired the AMAs, and that appearance was promptly canceled. This gave CBS a chance to book Lambert and get ratings for their morning show since everyone wanted to see Adam talk about his performance. I saw a clip of the interview, and Adam was totally cool about it. He admitted he could see why some people wouldn't like it and said his music and performances are not for everyone. (h/t Broadsheet)
CBS on the other hand, felt the need to "blur" out Adam kissing a guy on stage and then in the same "controversy" clip literally less than 30 seconds later, showed Madonna and Britney kissing at the VMAs completely uncensored, what do you know. When the interviewer set him up for an apology, "don't you think you owe your fans an apology? THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!" Adam politely declined to apologize, and I say good for him. He was performing at a show for an adult audience, it was almost 11:00 at night his time, and other (female) performers had been sexually suggestive and no one seemed to mind.
Even though there was controversy surrounding the infamous Madonna/Britney/Christina kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007, it's still been shown on TV multiple times and half the commentary regarding it was about how "hot" it was. For the most part, the media doesn't seem to have a problem with females being sexually suggestive, and there also doesn't seem to be a problem with two females kissing as long as they actually are NOT GAY. Somehow, I don't think Melissa Etheridge or K.D. Lang kissing a woman on stage would've gotten the reaction that Madonna and Britney got. As long as women are seen as sexually attractive and sexually available (potentially) to men, it's ok for them to be sexual. We (as a society and in the media) actually encourage it. Let's face it, we encourage it a lot. It's practically a REQUIREMENT if you want to be a female pop star.
Pop stars have always been pushing boundaries, and while I don't think it's necessary for every performance to be overtly sexual in the way that Lambert's was, I don't necessarily think it's "inappropriate." It wasn't the "Teen Choice Awards" which incidentally featured teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus pole dancing on top of an ice cream truck. If we want to have a conversation about what is and is not appropriate in regards to sexual performances, maybe we should start with why teenagers are pole dancing at an awards show for children? But, of course, we barely heard a peep about it because fetishizing young female sexuality and having teenagers pole dance on top of ice cream trucks is totally normal and acceptable. But Adam Lambert kissing a guy and gyrating on stage is UNACCEPTABLE. THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN.