Double standards: Adam Levine
Photo By: app.com, washingtontimes.com
Mason Bennett, Staff Writer
Following Super Bowl LIII, viewers felt that a “double standard” was at play when Maroon 5’s singer Adam Levine removed his shirt during the halftime show, 15 years after Janet Jackson was forced to apologize for a “wardrobe malfunction” that left her own nipple exposed.
In the incident often referred to as “Nipplegate,” performer Justin Timberlake removed Jackson’s corset, and claimed he accidentally tore her bra, leaving her breast exposed for less than a second on national television. Public shaming of Jackson continued for many months to come; the Grammys were the following week, which both Timberlake and Jackson were scheduled to present and perform at, but Jackson was outright banned from the event, despite assurances from the Academy that both would attend, saying “there's such a big difference between putting a stage on Astroturf than an appearance at the Grammys.” Clear Channel Communications, who owned MTV and CBS at the time, blacklisted all of Jackson’s singles and music videos, banning her music from all TV channels and radio stations the company owned, restricting airplay and making her album, “Damita Jo,” her lowest-selling album since her first appearances in 1984. The dying singer was then forced to resign from a set movie deal she had just signed. Additionally, unfortunately for Jackson, during this time social networking and the tech boom took full swing, causing “Janet Jackson” to become the most Googled search term in history, making the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006. The incident allegedly inspired the idea for YouTube as well; Jawed Karim, the founder of the video sharing site, once said he founded YouTube out of “frustration” that he couldn't find the performance clip.
Without a doubt, Janet Jackson’s career faced a huge roadblock, but it certainly wasn’t ruined. While Jackson kept a low profile following extensive ridicule, reportedly albums “20 Y.O.” and “Discipline” were well received in 2006 and 2008 respectively, skyrocketing in sales. She went on to star in Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie hit, “Why Did I Get Married” as well as its 2010 sequel. Furthermore, the singer emerged from the grief of losing her superstar brother Michael Jackson in 2009 to write about her struggles with body image in the 2011 book “True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself.” It rapidly reached number 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Three years later, Jackson postponed the remainder of her “Unbreakable” tour, which was related metaphorically to her album by the same name, for another life changing moment; Jackson said she and her husband were planning a family.
It would appear easy to argue that Janet Jackson got the short end of the stick, and was unfairly punished by all facets of the media and public due to her race and sexual orientation. However, it is hard to prove that this incident was indeed an accident as she and Justin Timberlake claim it was. USA Today conducted a thorough investigation shortly following the day of the Nipplegate Super Bowl to answer the doubts of many. They found two key contributors in the act; Jackson hired a skilled Ecuadoran tailor to modify the suit she wore in Houston. During an in person interview, Marcello Garzon claimed he could not address the situation or give any information, because he signed a “confidentiality agreement” upon meeting Jackson. What he didn’t know, however, is that during an over the phone interview with his supervisor beforehand, he made himself clear in saying they in fact saw Jackson earlier that same week and aided her in modifying the suit; he would not specify in any detail what modifications were made. Next, Byriah Dailey was interviewed, the body piercer hired for Jackson’s cause in shocking the public. Dailey said it was Super Bowl week when Wayne Scot Lukas walked into Taurian Piercing and Metal Shop in Houston. Lukas, according to Dailey, identified himself as Jackson’s stylist and said he was looking for nipple jewelry for Jackson. Lukas settled on a sunburst nipple shield, which Jackson is seen wearing during the halftime show. “At the end of it, while we were talking, he was like, ‘OK, watch the halftime show. There’s going to be a surprise at the end.’” said Dailey. Dailey said he still has the second sunburst nipple shield. “I had a pair of them,’’ Dailey said. “I still have the other one, believe it or not. They only purchased one.” This all but proves Jackson’s guilt in intentionally going nude on public television to get the public’s attention.
The case to be made here should be clear; Janet Jackson’s and Adam Levine’s halftime performances are not the same in the slightest, not only in execution, but gender as well. A double standard does exist between men and women, and rightfully so. We are different in many aspects, anatomically, biologically, psychologically, etc. Sexual/Reproductive body parts should be covered up in public places, to maintain our decency and respect others. A female breast is capable of producing milk and feeding a child, whereas their male counterparts are not without extensive hormone therapy. As “unfair” as some may call it, they are also a reproductive attraction that men don’t have. To be topless as a man is either self-promoting or bashful at best, and to be topless as a woman is indecent exposure. There are distinct differences between the two genders, and it by no means makes them unequivocal in choice and opportunity. Janet Jackson was not persecuted because she is a woman and a minority, her career took a downfall because of what most likely was her own doing. Shockingly, Levine thought he was actually doing something wrong, in which he responded in an interview with Entertainment Tonight; “I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy. It’s what it is. We expected it. We’d like to move on from it and speak through the music.”