Sunday night was ladies' night at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. From Beyoncé's feminist statement during her VMAs performance to Kim Kardashian's low-key VMAs appearance, all our favorite female celebrities basically stole the show in one way or another. Of course, if you weren't watching the VMAs from a feminist perspective, then it was easy to miss some of the moments that really showed how far feminism has come. Far from being dominated by male celebrities sweeping the categories, the 2014 Video Music Awards were all about the ladies for once.
Quite honestly, women and feminism have been getting so much attention in films, books, and music, especially in the last year, that it can be easy to think that this new wave of feminism is trying to push men out of the spotlight. However, the keyword in all that is the word new. It's still pretty recent that this many films have had female leads, that this many award winners have been women, that this many books have had female characters as the sole protagonists. Women are finally getting their time to shine and nowhere was that more on display than at the 2014 VMAs. While the ceremony was a pretty big feminist victory over all, here are seven moments you might have missed the significance of the first time around.
1. Angel Haze and Ireland Baldwin.
In case you haven't heard by now, Angel Haze and Ireland Baldwin are a couple and, sadly, they've received far too much flack for it since they went public. However, the two of them looked beautiful as they proudly attended the MTV Video Music Awards together hand in hand, which shows exactly how far the world has come and how far we still have to go toward acceptance and tolerance.
2. Miley Cyrus sharing the spotlight.
Cyrus not accepting her award is already receiving praise and criticism for the selflessness and the showmanship involved in that selflessness, but it should get points for being a feminist moment as well. On the surface, it might seem like a woman giving up her moment in the spotlight for a man is actually anti-feminist, but the moonman is far from the first or last award Cyrus has ever gotten and she and Jesse are far from equal in society. For one moment, Cyrus put someone like Jesse on the same level of stardom that she lives on all the time, and that was, in my opinion, a feminist moment.
3. Lorde's introduction of Taylor Swift.
It's less the fact that Lorde introduced Swift and more the fact of how she did it. Swift might have a million best friends, but Lorde is one of her most inexplicable ones considering how different they are. "On the surface, this next performer and I are nothing alike," Lorde agreed Sunday night. "...But we both base our art on the kinds of things that delight, terrify and confound us. And for that, I'm grateful she exists." In return, Swift lost her mind when Lorde won Best Rock Video. Ladies ignoring their differences to come together as friends? Always feminist.
4. The "Bang Bang" Wardrobe Failure.
The "Bang Bang" performance that everyone had been waiting for hit a major snag when Minaj came out on stage literally holding her dress together as she performed her rap portion. It was a moment that had the potential to go Janet Jackson-levels of bad, but luckily Minaj managed to keep it from turning into a nip slip. However, the best part of the moment was the show must go on attitude of Grande and Jessie J. Not only did they continue singing like nothing was wrong, not even so much as making a face to draw attention to the snafu, but they also stuck close to Minaj as the three of them sang as if ready to cover her up if necessary.
3. The entire opening performance.
Lady Gaga's 2013 VMAs performance was insanely amazing, but there was one noticeable difference between her performance and the "Break Free"/"Anaconda"/"Bang Bang" medley that opened the 2014 VMAs. Between Minaj, Grande, Jessie J and all of Minaj's back up dancers, the 2014 VMAs had more women on the stage during the opening performance than last year could brag. Sure, you can argue all day about how sexualized the performances were, but that's still pretty amazing.
Beyoncé's performance is already getting intense amount of attention for what a flawless feminist display it was, but an extra thing to take from her performance is how she chose to present herself. Beyoncé's skin-tight, glittery swim suit and sexy dance moves made a statement just as much as her FEMINIST sign did. It said that you can dress sexily and still be a feminist, you can be comfortable with your sexuality and still be a good mother, that feminism comes in many forms and has nothing to do with how you look or present yourself.
7. Ladies' Night.
Not only was the number of female award winners more than the number of male award winners, but female performers also outnumbered male performers at the ceremony as well. Even Usher's performance was shared with Minaj and, as usual, she stole the show. These moments might not seem like much individually, but all together they made for the most feminist-friendly award show we've had all year.
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