Miley Cyrus Nip-Slip Isn’t The Same As Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction

Miley Cyrus had an accidental VMAs nip-slip Sunday evening that has made headlines everywhere. According to Gossip Cop, the Parents Television Council is angry at Cyrus.

“We had hoped she would have proven us wrong and demonstrate her considerable talent as a performer, rather than rely on her own sexuality to entertain the audience.”

The statement from the organization goes on to note that MTV and Cyrus could have both been forces for something positive, but instead exposed millions of children to graphic, inappropriate, what they consider “offensive content.” Their biggest gripe appears to be Cyrus’ nip-slip. Others have complained, as well.

However, the uproar that Cyrus has caused with the nip-slip is nothing in comparison to the uproar Janet Jackson experienced with her Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction in 2004.

Many are saying that the reason Miley isn’t experiencing the same backlash is because she is white and that Janet Jackson never deserved the backlash she experienced after the Super Bowl. Perhaps they are correct about the backlash, but fail to understand the main difference: Janet Jackson’s nip-slip was seen as promoting violence against women. Last year, MediaPost recently described why many people still consider Jackson’s performance to be shameful.

“Everyone involved should have been deeply ashamed — not because Jackson’s right breast was exposed, but because it happened during a depiction of simulated violence against a woman that was intended to entertain millions of people. Even without the ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ everything about it was inexcusable.”

Perhaps what hurt Janet Jackson the most is that many people have always believed her nip-slip was a publicity stunt, especially since Timberlake violently exposed her breast after singing, “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” On the other end of the spectrum, people were upset at Janet Jackson for issuing an apology, when they thought she absolutely shouldn’t have.

People are right to be upset about the sexist double standards. Janet Jackson received most of the blame and backlash for the incident, while Justin Timberlake didn’t have to worry much. The controversy over the event supported the long-time puritanical belief that in sexual incidents, the man is the stud and the woman is the promiscuous one.

However, it’s also important to note that Jackson’s event took place on primetime television with one of the largest audiences in television history. Parents have a right to be angry about the display of violent sexual acts, although one can argue that there have been worse things on prime time television that are more dangerous to children than Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

Miley Cyrus won’t apologize and she shouldn’t. Anybody who watches the MTV VMAs knows what to expect. As for Janet Jackson, she has obviously moved on from the biggest moral backlash in television history and will make millions from her Unbreakable World Tour, which starts Monday night.

[Photo by Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic for Getty Images]