Last night, while performing her latest single Adore You at the Los Angeles Staples Center, Miley Cyrus saw fellow songstress Katy Perry in the audience and, in a move that many consider controversial, leaned into the crowd to give her a kiss. Thrilling and unexpected, sure, but this is hardly one of Cyrus’s – or Perry’s, for that matter – more controversial moments. The social climate in America is still at the stage that any time any homoeroticism is displayed by a celebrity, somehow this makes the news.
Katy Perry released her song I Kissed a Girl in 2008, which launched her into unimaginable stardom overnight. Cyrus cheekily referenced the song after the kiss, saying that she really did “like it.” The song’s release is nearing its sixth anniversary, yet somehow it is still surprising when Perry shares a kiss with another woman. Six years after her admission that she liked kissing a girl and that very action gets reported by entertainment news outlets across the United States.
With the state of affairs with regards to same-sex marriage in America, it is not exactly surprising that anything that can have “gay” in the headline next to a celebrity’s name would be put in the spotlight. However, an emphasis must really be placed on the fact that Katy Perry did this six years ago and it’s still considered controversial simply because Miley Cyrus was her kissing partner.
Moreover, it was a whopping nine years ago that two same-sex kisses happened on the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards. When Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera shared their performance-topping kiss with Madonna, it was 2003 and the stunt set the world ablaze.
Cyrus has not exactly been the most heterosexual celebrity since her first attempts at breaking free from her Disney-made image as Hannah Montana. In 2010 the singer allegedly pretended to kiss a backup dancer in a performance of Can’t Be Tamed on the BBC’s Britain’s Got Talent that sparked a lot of controversy as well. Three years later, she posted a picture of her touching tongues with Cara Delevigne, a Victoria’s Secret model, on her own twitter account.
The “unexpected gay kiss” has been used for over a decade now as a surefire way to spark controversy. Why is it that audiences are still shocked, enthralled, or even disgusted when two same-sex celebrities lock lips? Even when Adam Lambert kissed his male keyboardist during the 2009 American Music Awards, all other aspects of the performance seemed to be overshadowed, and Lambert even openly identified as gay at that point.
There is no reason why this trope should continue to be shocking. The kiss between Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus should not be considered controversial by anyone. In fact, aside from the fact that Cyrus made the funny quip with regards to her kissing partner’s smash hit song, hardly anything about this event is even interesting. Publications are struggling to milk Ms. Cyrus’s antics for all they’re worth, and frankly, reading about how every little thing she does is so wild and over-the-top is exhausting.
By Robin Syrenne