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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Madonna has always thrived on outrage – why stop her now?

Perhaps it’s mostly millennials and Gen-Zers, with their easily bruised feelings, who have an issue with such depictions – as they did with a recent photograph alongside photographer Steven Klein, which shows the singer with cornrows (hashtag cultural appropriation) and having a knife held to her throat (hashtag socially irresponsible in the light of continuing violence against women). If so, they may like to revisit Like a Prayer, which touches upon this subject and the BLM movement, even if the Vatican (and Pepsi) couldn’t quite see it at the time. 

Most troubling to this nearly 49-year-old though is that so much of the disapprobation seems to be linked to Madonna’s age. Sure, I can’t imagine dressing or posing like that in my forties, let alone in my sixties (although I did, proudly, win tickets to Desperately Seeking Susan in a dress-alike and dance-alike contest when I was 13). But then again, I can’t imagine dressing or posing like some of the girls I see, in their teens and twenties, when I was of a similar age. In this age of body positivity, why is it okay to be young, overweight and scantily clad, but not old(er), slim and scantily clad?

And at the end of the day, it’s all irrelevant to Madonna, isn’t it? She’s flipped the bird at convention for over 30 years now – and, at last count, 1,126,307 likes and 40,860 comments on this latest series of photos proves that it’s working for her just fine.

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