Love her or hate her, you have to agree that Madonna works really hard, is a savvy businesswoman and very good at making a public statement. Let’s put her talent of performing and creating a dazzling show aside for a moment and break down how the Material Girl has kept her name a buzz throughout pop culture history for the past 30+ years, and why you should take a moment to think about it. Through decades of publicity stunts, magazine covers and now online chatter, Madonna continues to create a sense of controversy, but also what I believe to be an important discussion for our society, especially for women.
With an upcoming new album on the horizon, Madonna is still holding the throne of being the queen at making waves in the press and causing people to roll their eyes (I’ll get to that in a minute). Whether she is wearing a grill, dating a younger guy, or posing topless, Madonna’s actions continue to be in the headlines. If you sit back and look at the bigger picture though, there is always a message behind what she does and says, including her oh-so famous provocative ways.
Yes, her goal is to sell music (that is a given), but she is also driven to make a statement of some kind to stir up conversation and make people think. Such statements at times, like kissing Britney Spears on stage or releasing her Sex book, may seem unnecessary to some people at first, but in the end, Madonna is doing these things to open up the minds of the current time.
Today, seeing two women kiss on television is not that big of deal and being naked or showing skin in the media is practically everywhere. I’m not giving Madonna all the credit in completely revolutionizing the freedom of self-expression, but she certainly has played a big part with just using her own music platform. I believe that is her main focus, and it is something courageous for a person to do. Madonna is always on a mission to revolutionize the way people think. She encourages rebelling against what is considered to be “wrong.” She may come off as the loudest, raunchiest and most daring at times, but if you zero in on what she is trying to communicate, then her actions should take less of the spotlight and her message should take the center stage.
What has my mind ticking is the opinionated backlash she (still) gets, especially on social media, for being “too old” to be doing what she does. Not one to keep quiet, Madonna has gone on the defense in past interviews expressing that she is a victim of ageism and sexism. So, I have to ask, are Madonna’s current provocative ways “not appropriate” for the masses just because she is sixty years old? Is it ageism at its best?
I think, yes! When Britney, Beyoncé, and Gaga are up on stage gyrating, nobody makes a big stink about it, so why is society so hung up on bashing Madonna? Why is there an expiration date for women and their expression of sexuality?
Madonna is also a mother, in impeccable shape, employs many people and has achieved success on many different levels. You would think her drive, talent and healthy physique would be an inspiration. Sure, she can upset people and goes to the extreme in many cases to make a point, but her motive is to get people to create conversation. That is a success all on its own. The more interaction she creates and the more thought provoking she is, the more awareness is in the air. That awakens our minds.
Madonna has also been a strong supporter for human rights, equality and numerous charities for decades. Did I also mention the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care she recently built? That is inspiring to me and those are qualities of somebody with compassion and wanting to make a change.
So, here we are in 2018 and Madonna is still being hated on. It does not make a whole lot of sense to me. She has paved the way for so many young artists and contributed to shifting and bending the norms of society. If the way she went about it was too much for some people, I can understand that, but perhaps the focus should be directed towards her positive intentions and forward thinking.
I don’t want to convince people to be Madonna fans because that is not what is important. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (especially with music). But, I do think the negative words being said about her on social media are overly harsh, and there is a disconnect between how she is viewed and the points she has made.
Society can be so strict about women wanting to express themselves, whether it is through artistic expression, fashion or music. The judgment meter has always been sky-high when it comes to women being bold in history. So I have to again ask. What type of message do you want to send to the young women in your life: to stay quiet, not express what they think, not stand up for themselves and that when a woman reaches a certain age, she must dial down her creative thoughts? That just sounds so backwards to me.
So, perhaps take a moment and reflect on what Madonna has done for our culture as a whole. I think she deserves a “Happy Birthday” tweet from each and every one of us.