Last night, music’s top female artists were in command of the stage at the MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards) and they all made one thing very clear… an overexposed, gyrating butt is apparently the new symbol of female empowerment.
The show opened with solo performances by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, who were then joined by Jessie J for a butt threesome, as they sang their hit “Bang Bang.” Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora also got in on the butt shaking action for their “Black Widow” duo, as did Taylor Swift for her “Shake It Off” number. Yes… even Taylor Swift.
In each case, the women led from behind – their behinds – as their butts were a large focus of every choreographed routine. The women shook their butts, twerked their butts, popped their butts, gyrated their butts, rolled their butts (using stripper poles for balance), and spread their legs before delivering their very best butt shots to the audience.
When Beyonce hit the stage for her epic, 15-minute show closer, she too took the idea of “bootylicious” to a whole new level. As Queen Bey stood tall, the word FEMINIST beamed behind her on a giant screen, and the voice-over track said, “We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings the way that boys are. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.”
Before and after this seemingly empowered moment, Beyonce shook her money maker, like nobody’s business, at one point, spreading her legs as her female back up dancers, clad in not much more than glitter body paint, gave the audience a butt view that came alarmingly close to a gynecological exam, though some would argue it was “artistic.”
We’re all about women owning their sexuality, but when it becomes the sole presentation of female empowerment, our butt cheeks start to clench in discomfort… and disappointment. It’s hard to focus on the immense talent that was on that stage when it is eclipsed by a full moon (too many of them to count).
Spoken word poet Madiha Bhatti sums up exactly how we were left feeling post-VMAs:
Yeah I watched a video the other day Of my girl, Beyonce She was draped in feathers and furs and things Exaggerated makeup and big chunky rings She was dancing in the desert, hair whipping wild And I thought to myself What does this look like to a child? To see a woman belt about her power While thrusting her hips to and fro How will she know she can wear the pants in the house When her idol doesn’t wear them in a video?