There was only one thought in my mind when I saw Cher performing at the Billboard Music Awards in a diamond-studded braand pink heart-shaped nipple pasties: are nude fishnets back in fashion?
Not everyone had the same reaction. Piers Morgan asked his fellow Good Morning Britain hostsSusanna Reid and Kate Garraway this morning: “At what point do Cher’s outfits become inappropriate?”. (The singerturned 71 last week).
“Come on Cher, for goodness’ sake love,” he continued. “She’s a grandmother, for goodness’ sake, just put it away, grow old gracefully. Put them away.”
Morgan is no stranger to body and age-shaming women. But unleashing his bitterness on Cher is a new low.
A performance from Cher would not be true to herself withoutat least one see-through sparkly leotard. She has been singing inoutrageous clothing (or a lack of it) for decades. No one – least of all her adoring fans – expects her to stop doing this.
The only reason Morgan is complaining now is because Cher is no longer in her thirties, or forties. She is – gasp – a71-year-old woman, and in Morgan’s mind, this means she has to dress like one. One imagines he would be more approving of an M&S twinset than nipple pasties.
And he’s not a lone voice in such criticisms – with others on social media pouring scorn on Cher’s stage outfit (yes, remember, she was on stage – not doing the weekly supermarket shop).
I can’t help but wonder exactly what it is about Cher’s outfit that offends.
The issue of critics like Morgan isn’t thatCher can’t pull off a leotard. Indeed, when Garraway and Reid pointed out how incredible she looks, Morgan essentially agreed: “Well it’s surgery, we know it is, she’s had endless plastic surgery, you don’t just wake up at 70 looking like that, do you?”
His issue is that an older woman had the sheer nerve not to “put it away” and “cover up”. Talk about stuck in the 1950s.
Indeed, he has previously levelled the same criticism at Madonna, after the 2016 Met Gala, when he tweeted: ‘Put. It. Away.’
“We cannot affect change unless we are willing to take risks by being fearless and by taking the road less travelled by. That’s how we change history. If you have a problem with the way I dress it is simply a reflection of your prejudice. I’m not afraid to pave the way for all the girls behind me.”
Madonna summed up the issue society has with older women: when you get to a certain age, you’re expected to behave in a certain way. Whether that means covering up, staying away from younger men before being slapped with the predatory ‘cougar’ label or ‘gracefully’ stepping aside from the fame game.
What a shame Morgan wasn’t listening.
We still have a long way to go before older women are respected in our society. So often they are invisible – who can blame Cher for wanting to be seen? It’s only with the help of fearless women like her and Madonna (in her fifties)that anything will ever change.
As Cher put it last night: “I’m 71 yesterday! And I can do a five-minute plank, okay? Just saying.”
Naturally, because it was Madonna, she put him in his place, writing on Instagram: “When it comes to women’s rights, we are still in the dark ages. The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an ageist and sexist society. I have never thought in a limited way and I’m not going to start.