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Britney Spears was only 2 years old when Madonna made her appearance at the inaugural 1984 MTV Video Music Awards. It's unlikely she saw Madonna wear a wedding dress and writhe around on the floor, cooing that she was "like a virgin touched for the very first time." But if she did, did she ask her mommy if she could be like Madonna when she grew up?
Britney Spears was 9 years old during Madonna's "Blond Ambition" tour in 1990. It's unlikely that she followed the story of Madonna's near-arrest after a performance of "Like a Virgin," during which Madonna simulated masturbation. But if she did, did she tell her mommy that Madonna was her heroine?
Britney Spears was 12 years old when Madonna did a performance in Sydney, Australia, titled "The Girlie Show." It's unlikely she viewed Madonna dressed as a man, flirting outrageously with female performers while singing "Like a Virgin." But if she did, did she hope that one day she would be able to make out with Madonna herself?
If she did, the 2003 MTV Awards ceremony must have been a dream come true for her. Spears and fellow Mickey-Mouseketeer-turned-slut Christina Aguilera joined Madonna in a tribute to "Like a Virgin." Spears and Aguilera were dressed in mock bridal gowns, with Madonna dressed in black, as the groom. After the three danced around like strippers starved for tips, Madonna turned to Spears, Spears opened her mouth, and the two played a round of tonsil hockey. When she was done cleaning Spears' teeth with her tongue, Madonna turned to Aguilera, and they shared an open-mouthed kiss. Throughout the lesbian orgy, the crowd roared its approval.
According to Britney, the performance was indeed a dream come true. "You know what?" Spears raved. "This is seriously something I thought about since I was a little girl. I cannot believe this just like freakin' happened! I'm, like, on a very major high right now. I feel very cool!" Later, she added: "It was awesome, amazing." Aguilera was more explicit: "Madonna has very soft lips. I enjoyed it. I really did. And every rehearsal, she doesn't just fake the kiss -- she just goes for the kiss every time, so I've kissed her a number of times at this point. It's been fun. There's nothing like kissing a woman!"
Crossing the line has been a staple of the MTV Awards since its start. Each year, someone has to do something outrageous. And Spears has a history of pushing the envelope. Two years ago, Spears gyrated half-naked with a giant Freudian snake around her neck. That's quite a distance from Spears' all-American, solid-Christian, virgin-until-I'm-married image of a few years back.
What happened to Britney? She started to lose popularity. She was too old to maintain popularity as a "virgin." Society expected her to lose her virginity -- now. So she lost it retroactively, by admitting that she had slept with longtime boyfriend Justin Timberlake years before. But it wasn't enough. Society wanted a rebel, someone who could break the rules. Britney obliged by suggesting to Madonna that they swap saliva on MTV.
Society doesn't just demand rebellion and over-the-line behavior from its entertainers. It demands that girls (and boys) have sex before marriage, at younger and younger ages. It demands that young women (and men) "experiment" with their sexuality. It demands that biblical values be kept out of schools and that condoms be kept in them. Society demands that dignity take a back seat to salaciousness.
Who is killing dignity? MTV surely plays a role. Aug. 28's raunchy sex-fest drew 10.7 million viewers, garnering the highest ratings from the 12-to-34 crowd of any cable show this year to date. MTV shows like "Real World" and "Beavis and Butt-head" defined a generation. New shows like "The Osbournes" and "Jackass" have become instant hits. Music videos revolving around sex and drugs are the channel's mainstay.
A whole new MTV generation is around the corner. MTV's audience skews young. The average age of an MTV viewer is 22 years old. With Aguilera and Spears turning into MTV's type of women, MTV receives a whole new viewership. Both Aguilera and Spears cut their teeth in the teeny-bopper market; both are listed by Google.com in the Kids and Teens entertainment section.
Thousands of little girls idolize Britney. Who knows? After this display, they might aspire to make out with Britney some day.