No reason for NFL to sue M.I.A.

M.I.A is being sued by the NFL for $1.5 million as a result of her notorious stunt during the Super Bowl 46 half-time performance with Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin” where she flipped the bird during her verse.

She took to YouTube to post a video explaining her frustration with the lawsuit, calling it a “massive waste of money and massive waste of time,” to which I agree.  In the video, she states that even though there were background dancers in tight, short and revealing outfits, dancing provocatively, somehow putting up the middle finger is more offensive and in need of censorship.

“Madonna got them from a local high school in Indianapolis,” the singer added. “They were under 16. If you look at them they’re wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusting in the air, legs wide open … in a very sexually provocative
position,” M.I.A. said in the video.

I personally don’t see anything particularly wrong with how the dancers were dressed or how they were dancing, especially since they were backup dancers for Madonna; no explanation necessary. But since the girls are underage; that makes a huge difference, to me, in what M.I.A. is trying to say.

I think her argument against the lawsuit is that there is somewhat of a double standard. It’s fine for women to be sexy on stage for a performance intended for a male-dominated viewership, but for M.I.A. to put her finger up it is suddenly offensive; $1.5 million in damages offensive.

I feel as though if M.I.A. did not make her “punk rock” statement (as Madonna dismissed it) by putting up her middle finger, we wouldn’t be sitting here trying to put together an argument about what is offensive in this country and what is not. It is clear that strong females, such as M.I.A. in this case, who make statements, whether with gestures or words, are always the first to be attacked, where as women who keep quiet or simply use their body or words for sexually-
based entertainment are often praised.

“Is my finger more offensive? Or is an underage girl with her legs wide open more offensive?” M.I.A. questions in her video.

Society is full of double standards for women these days, especially in the media. Aside from the fact that M.I.A. breached her contract with the NFL, what the NFL is calling an “offensive” gesture (which lasted for all of five seconds) it is apparently more offensive than an entire performance filled with underage girls in skimpy outfits using suggestive
dance moves.

This has me thinking: What do we consider offensive in today’s diverse culture? M.I.A. asks the same question by saying,  “Now they’re scapegoating me into figuring out what is the goal post
of what’s offensive in America.”

Times are changing, and for me, since it’s something I know a lot about, it’s very evident in the music industry. Madonna, was controversial for her time and often “offensive” so much so that at one point early in her career, one of her music videos was banned by the Vatican.

Miley Cyrus is new to this phenomenon of raunchy shock value, but I think it’s less artistic then what Madonna once did. I think the main difference is that Miley uses nudity or gestures for shock value and attention, unlike M.I.A., who was trying to make a different statement, more “punk rock,” as previously described M.I.A. wasn’t saying that the girls in the background were offensive or explicit, but she was comparing the accusation of her small gesture being so horribly offensive to the fact that nobody thought twice about the young girls in the background.

However, she did breach her contract and by law the case against her is technically valid; she does provide the opportunity to bring up a serious question of morality and double standards. Women, especially in this country where our rights are supposed to be protected, are only going to get so far without questioning and discussing issues like this and bringing them to greater attention.