This year’s MTV VMAs played host to several big moments this year, apart from finding out who actually won. From the lighter (the debut of Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do music video) to the serious (Susan Bro – mother of Heather Heyer, killed in Charlottesville – announcing the Best Fight Against the System award), there was plenty going on.
Another moment that stood out was singer Pink accepting a gong – and using the opportunity to address her six-year-old daughter, Willow.
Pink, who has long been an advocate for women’s rights, was recognised for her contribution to pop culture with the coveted Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. The well-deserved accolade celebrated Pink’s 17-year career, which had us feeling all sorts of nostalgia – blasting Just Like A Pill in teenage angst, anyone?
But it was her acceptance speech that made waves on Sunday (27 August). Taking the stage, she addressed society’s pressurizing expectations of beauty through the eyes of her daughter, who recently told her pop star mum that she felt “ugly”.
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“Recently I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me, out of the blue […] ‘I’m the ugliest girl I know’. And I said, ‘Huh?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’”
Pink then described to the audience how instead of trying to appease her daughter with material quick-wins, she explained the truth that we all need to hear once in a while; we don’t need to change ourselves to fit society’s current expectation of appearance.
Using herself as an example, she asked her daughter: “‘What do you think I look like?’
“And she said, ‘Well, you’re beautiful.’ And I said, ‘Well, thanks’.”
Pink pointed out that she has previously been criticised for looking ‘masculine’, despite having a career and talent that most could only dream of.
“But I said, ‘When people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say that I look like a boy […] my body is too strong. I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’
“‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, Mama?’”
She then said she asked her daughter, “Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?” To which Willow could clearly only respond as any of us would: “Yes, Mama.”
Pink’s refusal to submit to superficial criticism is beyond inspiring, but if you thought she was done with your heartstrings, you’re mistaken.
The artist continued to promote the message that, “We don't change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people change so they can see more kinds of beauty.” She then took a moment to thank everyone in attendance for being their “true selves”.
Looking around the room, Pink added, “To all the artists here: I’m so inspired by all of you, thank you for being your true selves. There’s so much rad s**t happening right now in music.”
Addressing her daughter Willow directly, Pink finished her speech with a line that gave us a chin-wobble, “And you, my darling girl, are beautiful. And I love you.”
Social media users have been praising Pink for her body-positive attitude, with many taking to Twitter to tell the singer what an inspirational role model she is.
One fan tweeted, “Your story of how you responded to Willow - Wow - What a mom! Thanks for sharing the story. Congrats on your win.”
Another agreed, writing, “You are soooo beautiful! Inside and out! Thanks for always being a amazing role model!”
You are soooo beautiful! Inside and out! Thanks for always being a amazing role model!— Kayla Lycliter (@KLycliter) August 28, 2017
You all look great!— Lisa Benson (@LisaHBenson0706) August 28, 2017
And your story of how you responded to Willow- Wow- What a mom! Thanks for sharing the story. Congrats on your win.
My I just say, what an inspirational speech you did, and all for your beautiful daughter. The world needs more of you💗— carol Allen (@fudge31carol) August 28, 2017
Your speech brings tears to so many moms eyes. You're amazing and Willow is beautiful— Lisa Greenwood (@Lisag0613) August 28, 2017
Can we suggest Pink is also awarded a crown for Mum of the Year?
Images: Rex / Giphy / Twitter