Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Simulated Oral Sex too much for night time TV? Or was it that it was GAY Simulated Oral Sex?

So a week ago Sunday, on the American Music Awards, Adam Lambert (Out Gay Rocker from American Idol's last season) performed a dressed S&M version of his new single, "For Your Entertainment."

He gyrated, led a dancer around by a leash, simulated oral sex with another male dancer, and kissed his male keyboardist. Oh, and he sang it like a rock star.

As you might expect, ABC got "flooded" with 1,500 complaints the next morning, much of it orchestrated by the Parents Television Council, whose Melissa Henson said their protest wasn't about Adam's gay kiss. It was about the simulated oral sex.

"The gender has nothing to do with it," Henson said. "It would be true if it had been a woman's face that was thrust into his crotch."

As for Adam, he said:

“People are scared and it’s really sad, I just wish people could open their minds up and enjoy things, it’s all for a laugh, it’s really not that big of a deal.”

Good Morning America canceled Adam's scheduled appearance last Wednesday in response, but Adam was picked up by its rival The Early Show on CBS.

So I ask you - Did Adam go too far? If it had been a girl dancer he "stimulated oral sex" with, would anyone have cared?

What about that Gay kiss? Do you buy that they didn't mind it? If so, was Adam a genius by making the issue the "simulated oral sex" and having everyone accept the gay kiss?

What do you think?

Talk about it with your GSA, or share your point of view with our virtual Gay-Straight Alliance, here in comments!

Adam's quote and the photo above are from here


Anonymous said...

The thing about oral sex is that it is a demeaning image -- one person on their knees while another stands above, often clutching ("controlling") the head of the other person. If it had been a woman on her knees I would have been offended, and I think many other feminists would have as well. It's an image for pornography (and I'm not saying pornography is bad/offensive/wrong, I happen to believe that within certain contexts it is none of those things). It's not an image for prime-time television. I really would not have wanted to deal with this (regardless of the gender mix) when I was 15 and my parents were watching with me. Same goes now for watching with my child.

Anonymous said...

It's been a rough week for us Adam fans, lemme tell ya. I honestly thought that after the AMAs, he might be done for, but thankfully he was picked up by The Early Show (and did a great interview) and performed like a boss on that show and Letterman. GMA's cancellation was disheartening. Madonna has used bondage and shock factor long before Adam, and many female artists have slunk around in leather while kissing various genders for ages. Hearing that GMA deemed him "too unpredictable", then booked Chris Brown for an interview and a performance was a slap in the face.

While I'm so happy for Adam, as a member of the LGBT community, and as a human being that loves his voice, I also hate that this has really exposed a lot of homophobia in the media and definitely a double standard that Adam's mentioned in interviews ever since this incident.

However, I am very happy to see the record sales and that if Susan Boyle didn't come out with an album this week, it would probably debut at number one. If the AMAs had something to do with it, so be it. The album will speak for itself soon enough.

Ellen Hopkins said...

I didn't see the performance, but the photo you have here isn't offensive to me. I mean, they've got their clothes on and everything. I agree with the comment about Madonna--and other women--who get away with highly risque performances in prime time---with most of their clothing missing. Which, really, is more offensive? Guess it depends on who's being offended.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a gay issue, even for the "Parent's Television Council". The entire act was over-the-top (and not very good musically IMO). I do believe that if Adam had a female dancer simulating oral sex on him in that routine the backlash would have been the same. If the routine had a gay kiss and none of the other sexually explicit material there would have been very little (if any) complaint.

Everyone knows Adam Lambert is gay and they loved him on American Idol. Americans (especially American parents) are uncomfortable with having children see sexually explicit material. While Mr. Lambert is correct in saying it's not up to him to play babysitter, he's incorrect is making this a gay issue.

J.H. Trumble said...

I, personally, thought the performance was fun. Okay, over the top a bit, but no big deal. While Adam has not apologized, he has said that he will stick more closely to what he does in rehearsals from now on. He's fabulous. Let's put this to rest and move on. And just as a side note, sometimes you have to resort to extreme measures to move the conversation forward. It's not about the gay kiss. It's not about the gay kiss. It's not about the gay kiss. Not anymore :)

MotherReader said...

I think it would be offensive if it were a man or a woman in the oral sex scenario. The other issue is the fans he's bringing with him. No he didn't win American Idol, but he owes his success - at this point - to bing on that show. Given it's tween and teen audience who would still want to see Adam Lambert perform, I don't think this kind of act is appropriate.

Sure Lady Gaga has some riske stuff, and Madonna certainly shook things up - as have many performers. But you are going to risk criticism when you take a younger fan base and then decide to take it up several notches.

Deiter said...

Firstly, I'm sure we've all seen media depictions of crotches suffering beatings, gunfire, and all other matter of abuse. We can all agree that you can kill a johnson on TV, you just can't caress it.

That aside, this was not a simple act of Oral Sex; for me, power is the much larger issue. This particular, er, interaction pits the star and his underling in a situation that begs coercion (also simulated we should hope), above and beyond it's implied bondage aspect. Within that context, whether the fellator is male or female hardly matters, I think. (Unless our compassion extends only to manipulated females.)

David Bowie and Patti Smith both rather famously staged knee-bound oral simulations for their respective guitar players. The difference being that they were both the "stars" of the show and they were servicing their employees. Also, they did so without the head grabbing and implied coercion. (I admit I didn't see the Lambert's TV performance firsthand.) I have to think the gayness of the act is for the most part beside the point. (Understanding there's always a certain prig segment of the population bound to go apoplectic over just about anything.)

Also, this isn't just simulated Oral Sex on night time TV; This is an American Idol finalist with a large built-in pubescent, pre-pubescent, and possibly juvenile audience. (However much Lambert is trying to go beyond that.) So, what this is really about is context, context, context and from that perspective, for my house, it was a little too much. An advisory would've been appropriate.

My daughters are both too young to sort out all the implications of Lambert's performance for themselves, and I'm certainly relieved I didn't have to explain it for them, if that was even possible. (We don't watch much TV in our house anyway.) I spoke briefly about the Lambert hoo-ha with my 11 y.o. daughter, leaving out explanations of the throat pneumatics. As to the mention of the boy-on-boy kiss she found it practically yawn-worthy.

Such is the new generation and for that we may rejoice.

Tobias said...

First of all, I take issue with the idea that all AMA performances have to be kid friendly. I know I wouldn't want children too young to understand both sex and the difference between reality and performance to watch ANY music awards show. They all tend to have at least one graphic performance and most have several artists with graphic lyrical content. Besides, Lambert went on at 11PM, well past when *children* should be asleep.

Second, I don't believe this is a gay issue. I believe this is a gender issue. Female performers are allowed to skirt sexual boundaries with little to no consequence, but males have to follow the rules. Look at the differences in lyrics between male and female performers. Males are either so sexually charged as to be misogynistic or completely non-sexual (these are usually artists that cater to the teen girl demographic). Backstreet Boys were blasted for If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy) even though it was barely more risque than 2 Become 1 by the Spice Girls. The BSB song was more upbeat while Spice Girls did a ballad, but their song also wasn't a single like 2 Become 1 so it shouldn't have gotten the same amount of attention.

It's interesting, we've come pretty far in terms of women's sexuality, but men's is still debated. If it's not overly aggressive or soppingly sweet it's somehow offensive.

Unknown said...

I love Adam's incredible talent as a singer and performer. The new "gay elvis". The AMA show was over the top, but it was just Adam, being Adam! It is really a shame that so many want to condemn him for his gayness. They can not seem to look past that, to see the real artistry and talent he displays.

I for one, look so very forward to following his soon to be incredible career.


Bibliovore said...

I'm finding the discussions of power and gendered sexuality interesting, but I have to point out . . .

The TV show "Glee" simulated female-on-male oral sex in one of the numbers from their pilot episode, and I don't remember hearing that it was this big scandal and ABC was flooded with protest letters. Of course, in the show the kids got in trouble for it, and well they should have for performing that at school, but we the watchers all took it as part of the entertainment/story. And nobody could say that was some little show nobody watched--the network hyped it up the wazoo. With its young cast, high-school storylines, and upbeat feel, I think it also caters partly to the same demographic that others have expressed concern about in regards to Adam Lambert's performance.