Media watchdog group the Parents Television Council (PTC) blasted MTV’s Video Music Awards for “sexualizing” women during Sunday night’s broadcast.
Although the watchdog group conceded that this year’s awards ceremony was “tamer” than years past, a spokesperson specifically called out singer Britney Spears and other performers for their costumes, which “revealed part of or most of their buttocks.”
“Viacom and MTV need to make a pivotal choice about the sexualization of women: either they must decide that it is good, or they must decide that it is bad,” PTC President Tim Winter said, according to Entertainment Weekely.
Spears danced in a yellow bikini-like outfit alongside her fully clothed backup dancers.
— Captain † Blackout (@gaga_fanno1) August 29, 2016
“Sadly, last night’s program contained concerning levels of sexualization throughout the night,” Winter’s statement continued. “When you have the juxtaposition of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team and their positive image of what’s healthy and right, contrasted with the sexualizing content that was so pervasive on the rest of the program, MTV is sending starkly-conflicting messages about what is important. So MTV, which one is it?”
The Virginia-based nonprofit did commend the VMAs for being “less explicit than VMA broadcasts in recent years.”
The video for Kanye West’s “Fade,” which featured singer Teyana Taylor in a leotard doing her best Jennifer Beals impression in Flashdance, was also cited by PTC.
— watchLOUD (@watchLOUD) August 29, 2016
However, the sex appeal-driven performances and big-name presenters didn’t translate into ratings success for MTV.
According to Deadline, just 6.5 million people watched Sunday’s ceremony across 11 Viacom networks, compared to 9.8 million total viewers who watched the 2015 VMAs.