12 Times Women Ruled the MTV VMAs
Whether you're watching for the red carpet fashion or the performances, the MTV VMAs always deliver. The awards show has a history of putting women at the forefront and has given us lots of girl-power greatness to look back on over the years. Here are some of the most memorable moments. (Photos via Kevin Winter/Getty + Scott Gries/ImageDirect + Kevork Djansezian/Getty + Mark Davis/Getty)
Madonna performs "Like a Virgin" (1984). At the very first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, Madonna gave an edgy (for the time) performance of her hit "Like a Virgin." Dressed in a revealing wedding gown and accessories (including her famous "Boy Toy" belt), she rolled and crawled around on the floor, setting the stage for countless memorable moments to come from other female artists. (Photo via Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
Fiona Apple makes a bold statement (1997). After winning the Best New Artist Moonman, then-20-year-old Apple gave an unexpected acceptance speech, declaring bluntly, "This world is bullsh*t." She went on to urge viewers to embrace their originality: "You shouldn't model your life on what we think is cool, and what we're wearing, and what we're saying and everything. Go with yourself." (Photo via Vinnie Zuffante/Getty)
Britney Spears takes a walk on the wild side (2001). PETA wasn't a fan of Spears' performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U," as it featured a seven-foot albino python named Banana draped over her shoulders. The rest of the world, however, loved it. (Photo via Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
Britney Spears, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera seal it with a kiss (2003). Nearly two decades after her first VMAs performance, Madonna took the stage again with the successors to her pop throne, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who were trying to bring some of Madonna's edge to their own images. After performing "Like a Virgin" with the ladies, Madonna kissed each of them on the lips, turning their already-epic performance into an iconic one. (Photo via Frank Micelotta/Getty)
Kelly Clarkson makes it rain (2005). Kelly Clarkson took her smash hit "Since U Been Gone" to new heights when she performed under a man-made torrential downpour at the 2005 VMAs. It was like music-video magic IRL. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Beyoncé debuts her baby bump in the most Beyoncé way ever (2011). Bey is no stranger to epic pregnancy announcements. Six years before the Instagram that broke the internet, she popped open her sequined purple jacket at the end of her "Love on Top" performance, revealing her bump and announcing to the world that she and JAY-Z were expecting their first child. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Beyoncé takes a stand for feminism (2014). Before receiving the Video Vanguard Award in 2014, Queen Bey took the VMAs stage to perform a 16-minute medley of songs from her self-titled album. At one point during the medley, she stood silhouetted in front of a massive "FEMINIST" sign. The declaration brought a complicated word into blazing and crystal-clear focus for millions of viewers, and paved the way for the years to come in Beyoncé's career. (Photo via Michael Buckner/Getty)
Lorde makes history (2014). Lorde, then just 16, became the first female artist to win the Best Rock Video award when "Royals" beat out videos by Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, and The Black Keys. We're not crying, you're crying! (Photo via Mark Davis/Getty)
Amber Rose and Blac Chyna fight slut-shaming (2015). BFFs Rose and Chyna walked the VMAs red carpet in matching nude outfits covered with hand-painted words such as "b*tch," "hoe," and "gold-digger." In doing so, they reclaimed and embraced what they hear from haters on a regular basis. (Photo via Larry Busacca/Getty)
Taylor Swift redefines #squadgoals (2015). Swift's "Bad Blood" video was nominated in eight categories at the 2015 VMAs, and to celebrate, she invited some of her many famous girlfriends to join her on the red carpet. Seeing Swift and her crew holding hands, linking arms, and hamming it up for the cameras made us feel so grateful for our own female pals. (Photo via Larry Busacca/Getty)
Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift bury the hatchet (2015). After a misunderstanding on Twitter about the VMAs nominees, Swift and Minaj put up a united front in the form of a surprise collab at the 2015 awards. The rapper brought Swift onstage during a performance of “The Night Is Still Young,” which ended with them hugging it out for all to see. (Photo via Kevork Djansezian/Getty)
Rihanna and Beyoncé bring down the house (2016). Rihanna won the Video Vanguard Award in 2016 and treated viewers to not one, not two, not three, but *four* amazing performances of her greatest hits. (She also swerved her rumored on-again/off-again bae Drake SO HARD, but that's a story for another slideshow.) Not to be outdone, Beyoncé absolutely *destroyed* an epic medley of Lemonade bangers, complete with baseball bats, broken glass, and fire. (Photo via Michael Loccisano/Getty)
What’s your favorite VMAs moment in history? Tell us @BritandCo!
Nicole is an entertainment and lifestyle writer covering pop culture, news, and cool women doing cool things. She likes yard sales, MTV's Teen Mom, and putting too many memes in the group chat. She lives in Toronto.