Bold, brave, annoying, cool, fierce, trend-setting, trend-following, kooky, tired, inspired, diva, mother, lover, talented, hack. In short, Madonna is just like us! (With a little more cash and a gold tooth.)
We’ve brought Ms. Ciconne along for our ride since we were teens, and she provided the soundtrack, the raunchy stunts and the idea that anything is fair game in love and fashion. Tear up that sweatshirt, wear your pointy bra on the outside and pile on the rubber bracelets. Express yourself.
These days, we want to shame Madonna for not acting her age (she’ll be 57 on August 16), for overly sinewy arms, for trying to be a comedian when she should stick to music, for dating younger men. She gets it harder because she constantly puts herself in the spotlight. She won’t go quietly. The tone of her latest single, “Bitch, I’m Madonna,” is a bit “Hey, don’t forget about MEEEEE.” It’s a feeling that, as we grow older, we all have to combat.
When people tell Madonna to chill out and just be a role model, I want to say, let her be. I can’t stand the idea that as women we have to grow old gracefully or fit into a certain decorum with a quieter voice and a more tasteful, sweater-set-filled wardrobe. Some of my favorite icons are older ladies living outside the lines, holding true to their own stylistic, often youthful vision — whether it’s visually appealing or not. Women like fashion critic Lynn Yaeger, fashion icon Iris Apfel, and rocker Kim Gordon.
The overwhelming message Madonna sends is to be yourself, whatever that means. It might be cobbled from a few lives, influences and reinventions — and that’s just fine. She’s gonna be Madonna. Whether you like it or not.
This week we’ve gone mad for Madge and devoted the whole issue to her highness:
- Suzan Bond finds her lucky star
- Jennifer Hudak wonders if Madonna should just act her age
- Tina Rowley won’t go for second best and puts her love to the test
- Laurie White wants “Crazy for You” Love in her 40s
- Vicki Reich is inspired to reconsider her perspective — and sexuality
- Maura Johnston looks at 30 years of Madonna tours
- And 15 of us share our own Madonna histories
All hail the queen of pop,