Bette Midler, sexy-mermaid feminist? That's what Ariana Grande thought

Bette Midler mends fences with Ariana Grande after using 'Bang Bang' singer to illustrate what's wrong in pop

Over the course of her career, Bette Midler has proven to be bawdy. She's admitted to being tacky. She supports same-sex marriage. But a feminist, as defined on current-day social media?

Seems that's what Ariana Grande always thought.

The 21-year-old singer called out her elder on Tuesday after the publication Monday of quotes from the Divine Miss M, who, when prompted by a reporter, had criticized the hypersexuality of young women in music, named Grande specifically and advised the current batch of pop tarts to trust their talent instead.

"You don't have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead. You really don't," Midler told the Telegraph.

The "Bang Bang" singer was not pleased -- or maybe she just doesn't get Bette?

"Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do wahtever ... they wanted without judgement!," Grande tweeted Tuesday (expletive deleted, typos preserved). "not sure where that Bette went by I want that sexy mermaid back!!! always a fan no matter what my love."

She added, "and I will still quote first wives club every single day of my life lmao."

(We pause for a moment to review "The First Wives Club" lines, none of which immediately seem worth quoting on a daily basis -- perhaps, "What's the matter, Morty? Can't you buy her a whole dress?" We also pause to review Delores De Lago's sexy-mermaid quotient.)

In response, Midler, 69, stepped into takes-one-to-know-one territory, praising Grande's voice and indulging in classic Miss M self-deprecation.

"About my screed on @ArianaGrande, all I can say is, 'Spoken like a reformed old whore! She does have a beautiful voice, on a couch or off," the "Hocus Pocus" star tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

The couch in question was the one Midler invoked while discussing what the Telegraph interviewer called the "pornification of pop music." 

"It's always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch, looking so ridiculous," Midler said in her trademark straightforward manner.

While acknowledging that it wasn't any of her business, the star of "The Rose" and "For the Boys" couldn't fathom who was telling the current generation of pop ladies to amp up the smut level to 11.

"Maybe they [managers and mothers] tell them that's what you've got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold," she said, and she should know: Midler made her mark in the '70s playing gay bathhouses and putting on ribald shows that by current standards seem crazy-tame.

Those shocked by Midler's opinion might note that she hasn't held back in the past when asked for her thoughts about the conduct of young female performers.

In a 2006 "Extra" interview (via ABC News), when Grande was 13, Midler referred to then-crotch-flashing Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan as "wild and woolly sluts," urged them to "get a life, get a grip," and said, "someone should sit those ladies down."

She didn't love it in 2011 when Lady Gaga was doing her own mermaid-in-a-wheelchair routine.

And more recently, she zinged Taylor Swift, tweeting, "Taylor Swift joining #TheVoice as a mentor. Lucky for contestants she's giving musical advice and not dating advice. Still, isn't she great?"

"There’s more to life than just sex," Midler told the Guardian earlier this month as part of her promo effort for her recently released album "It's the Girls." "It's at the forefront of music and everything else has a backseat. I don't think the pendulum will swing back for a long time."

She also noted, "Charm is something a lot of today’s young artists could do with. Maybe I’ll start a charm school, like they had at Motown. They don't see it takes more than looking cute and not falling over in high heels."

Grande, incidentally, released the video for "Santa Tell Me," her Christmas tune, on Wednesday. The video includes snapshots that appear to be of her when she was a little kid.

Now, in one shot, she does have a Christmas bow stuck on her booty. No need to worry: It's actually adorable.

Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs.

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