Sunday, February 02, 2014

Race, Gender & The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Time flies, I guess.  This past week, I heard the unbelievable news that it's been 10 years since the "wardrobe malfunction" that destroyed Janet Jackson's career.
Looking at this photo, I'm still amazed at the national furor, including FCC fines and what amounted to the end of Janet Jackson's musical career, all flow from this moment.  A boob pops out and the world went nuts.

Last year, Beyonce performed at the halftime show, and I was really surprised at the comments I saw on my Facebook newsfeed attacking her dress and appearance as somehow wrong.
What, I still wonder, is wrong with the way she's dressed?

The fact that the incident in 2004 cost Janet Jackson her career, while Justin Timberlake continues on his merry way says so much about who we are.  That Beyonce singing and dancing in a costume little different except perhaps in color and material from a ballerina's became a focus of moral outrage says so much about who we are.

The fact that this year's halftime show will feature Bruno Mars, an ineffectual white man, says so much about who we are as a country.

As a side note, that so many continue to be outraged at Miley Cyrus's very calculated sexualizing of her own behavior while too few in the mainstream press note the blatant racism in her MTV appearance says so much about who we are.

I'm so tired of people offended by women's bodies.  I'm so tired of people not being offended by the maltreatment of African-Americans.  I'm tired of the American madonna/whore complex.  I'm tired of the impossible standards African-American women are forced to meet. and the all-too-public slut-shaming when they fail.  I'm just sick and tired of our American neruoses around race and gender and sexuality.

I suppose the fact Beyonce's career hasn't been changed by her appearance last year is a sign of progress.  That she has to endure a flood of hateful slut-shaming because she dared wear an outfit that was comfortable for her to move, though, makes me tired.

Virtual Tin Cup

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