There’s a scuffle going on in the world of diva-dom. Bette Midler, she of weepy teary film Beaches and that song The Wind Beneath My Wings, has had a pop at Ariana Grande, the Bang Bang singer who’s just at the beginning of her career.
The 68-year-old complained to The Telegraph about pop stars today and the pornification of their performances: 'It’s terrible! It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch’
‘Looking so ridiculous. I mean, it’s silly beyond belief and I don’t know who’s telling her to do it. I wish they’d stop. But it’s not my business, I’m not her mother. Or her manager. Maybe they tell them that’s what you’ve got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold.’
Now, Ariana, 21, didn’t take kindly to this, replying via a screengrab on her Twitter account: ‘Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgement! Not sure where that Bette went but I want that sexy mermaid back!!! Always a fan no matter what my love’
She then tweeted a picture of Bette in a sexy mermaid outfit with the caption: ‘all love here’ and later added ‘and I will still quote first wives club every single day of my life lmao’
We don’t want to pick sides – though Ariana’s right in pointing out that Bette was just as sexualised as she is, she’s been a bit passive aggressive about it, but also she seems to be blind to the fact she is marketed to a slightly younger and more impressionable audience than Bette’s. We’ve seen similar thoughts from other older pop stars. As well as Sinead O’Connor taking on Miley Cyrus in a series of open letters circa 2013, Annie Lennox recently got angry with a lot of pop stars’ videos, saying they are simply ‘highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment.’ Even though her videos, though way less nudie, were very much built on her own sexual allure. Sure, she was mysterious and androgynous, but it was still very sexy.
It makes us wonder, what’s the tipping point? At what point does a woman get annoyed for another woman doing something she used to do? Is it because Bette, Sinead and Annie are all now mothers so feel a closer care of duty to the younger generation? Is it because music videos seem a lot more geared towards what straight men find sexy rather than toying with what’s presumed to be sexy?
Could it be that these older women are now seeing the light because as they’ve matured in a world that just doesn’t like older women they’re all trading less and less off of their own sexual allure? Or have things really got worse and are we destined to see pop stars having actual sex on stage by the time we’re in our 50s? There are a lot of questions, so we’re going to have a big long chat with our mums tonight, in case we actually turn into them.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.