What does it mean to stick your tongue out? Lots of things, depending on who you are, when you did it, and in our opinion, what lipstick you were wearing. Which means, obviously, that we’ve got to obsessively track this with a pop-cultural timeline!
Sorry Miley, Einstein was the original… at a lot of things. The mathematical genius showed he had a silly side when he posed tongue-out in the ‘50s. At that point, “publicity stunt” was not yet in the general lexicon and people still said things like “gee whiz!” non-ironically.
The ‘60s counterculture was too busy, you know, protesting wars and stuff to bother with their tongues. So it took until the late ‘70s for the original “eff you!” expression to take off. Presumably, Kiss’ signature pose translates to “I want to rock n’ roll all night and party every day.” So they were protesting curfews.
Yes, future popstars, Madonna did everything before you. One part cute and one part sexy, Madonna did what she does best: morphing two contradictory themes (childish! no, sex kitten! no, playful! no… dammit, this is confusing!) together seamlessly.
In case anyone was still confused, this is full sex kitten now. Bey most likely adopted the signature move (you know the one—you’ve seen it at a million middle school dances) in the ‘90s along with the other R&B titans. But when she busted it out at the 2013 Super Bowl, it was clear that the lick-and-drag was alive and well. Sorry.
Madonna might call this reductive, but then so could Kiss. Like the zeitgeist provocateur she is, Miley managed to meld all of the tongue-out nuances together into one monster meme while simultaneously convincing everyone she “does not give AF.” Which, of course, was her master plan. We are not convinced, Miley! Not convinced at all.