The tabloids complain about Madonna looking old, and people laugh at her for that. Then Madonna goes and fixes her face, and they laugh at her for that. Even though they begrudgingly say she looks amazing, they’ll still laugh at her for trying to look young. Then she steps out, looking amazing, and the tabloids go and blow up a picture of her aging hand. Nobody’s doing that to George Clooney, blowing up pictures of his hands! I look at these magazines, and I want to say to them, ‘What’s your point? That she’s aged? Does that surprise you? Or is your ‘point’ an attempt to undercut what she’s achieved?’ I think it is, even if it’s on a subconscious level. … And you probably wouldn’t turn down those hands if they were grabbing you under the table, you fucking idiots!”
— Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson in a 2012 interview with BullettMedia, which, thanks to the ageist comments on social media following Madonna’s incredible performance at the Grammy Awards, sadly holds true three years later
Thank you Shirley Manson all these nasty comments about Madonna bring me to tears. She is so fabulous and deserves so much respect.
It never shocks me when folks in the media insult Madonna… there is always a bit of envy in the subtext of what most of them write. That being said, what did surprise me was the nasty, bitter comments from air-headed gays right here on Queerty. That part was beyond sad.
Preach Queen Manson, PREACH. She’s such an underrated gay diva.
The ageism is obvious. But I still think Madge should start to keep it covered. Sure, flaunting it was a big part of her act. But now she should try more modest costumage.
George Clooney is not the attention-seeker that Madonna is. George Clooney doesn’t say one thing and then contradict himself later in the way that Madonna does.
Therefore, it’s fair and just to criticize Madonna. She’s being rightly criticized for her hypocrisy as much as anything else. Playing the female victim card doesn’t work anymore, Shirley.
I just watched the Grammy performance, and I take it all back. Check out those gams.
Shirley Manson is pure class.
I’m completely lost with these bitter as*holes and their grandma comments. It’s ageism and completely misogynistic. I never hear those comments directed at men. So what if she still wears sexy clothes. She still looks better then women half her age.
George C isn’t an attention seeker? LOL! What do you call that ridiculous wedding in Europe? hahaha
What’s interesting about the attacks on Madonna – or similar sexist/ageist attacks on other ageing female stars – is they mostly come from women’s magazines and the gossip pages of newspapers, which are 90% edited by women and almost exclusively aimed at female readers. It’s women who fork out money to buy these age-shaming, fat-shaming, fashion-shaming rags, and therefore perpetuate the industry. If women want to stop the rot, they need to look to themselves.
Many female performers make a pact with the devil, which is that they will market themselves as highly sexualised beings and make a ton of money off that. The problem is when they hit middle age. If they haven’t transitioned away from that persona, you bet they will be put under the microscope. You can’t say it’s misogynist though, because it’s not that simple. If Tom Jones had performed at the Grammys with his shirt open to the waist, being fawned over by a troupe of scantily-clad young female dancers, he would be eviscerated by the press. In fact, he would be treated far worse than Madonna because feminists would say he exemplified everything wrong with the patriarchy. Here’s another analogy: you’re a 56 year old gay man and you go to a party in nothing but hotpants. You gyrate wildly with the lithe young men at the party, ramming your crotch into their faces. A smattering of onlookers will shriek “you go girl,” (just like they do on this website). But the reaction of most will be “what were you thinking?” This does not make them “haters.” Look, Madonna surrounds herself with much younger people, most of whom are on her payroll, and she’s in her own bubble, being told what she wants to hear. Anybody with commonsense can see she’s not at peace with ageing, but she’s a billionaire and she will do what she wants. The penny will drop for her at some point (possibly when she’s injured while dancing), but it hasn’t happened yet. Both Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand have remarked in the past that it was very freeing not to have traded on their looks while in their prime, because now they’re evaluated on the quality of their work. But Madonna traded on her sexuality and continues to do so, so her journey is different.
@Uppity: Great, articulate comment.
You’ve got to remember that Madonna has traded on her appearance throughout her career. From the sudden “re-inventions” to the awards show publicity stunts (eg kissing Britney), Madonna’s career has been one visual stunt after another.
When you rely so much on the visual (and not so much on the talent), don’t be surprised when the visual standard is used against you in the future. You reap what you sow – oldest truism in the book.
Alan down in Florida
I’ve got to say that watching Madonna last night my immediate impression was that she looked great for her age but that the performance was less hi difficult and upbeat than I expect of her.
That said all this bad-mouthing IS ageist and sexist as well. Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones look ugly and old as hell and nobody comments about it.
Well said Uppity and Jason Smeds!!!
I don’t think Celine Dion, Adele, Annie Lennox etc have the same problem. Why? Because they rely on their talent and not sex.
@Uppity: There’s really nothing more to say after Uppity’s comment. S/he nailed it. And is age appropriateness now ageist?
@Uppity: And when exactly, did Meryl Streep or Barbra Streisand EVER in their prime have a sexiness to flaunt? Talented yes, but come on……
Ok. If Tom Jones was in the shape he was 20 yrs ago it wouldn’t be a problem. He released his greatest hits album in the late nineties and the cover art had Tom jones with his shirt unbuttoned to his crotch. He was about madonnas age then and I don’t think people had a problem with it.
where do you draw the line between age appropriateness and ageism? Aren’t you defining how she should look and act based on your perceptions of what a woman of a certain age should be? Maybe Madonna does have a problem with aging but it could also be a problem with people telling her how to age appropriately.
Madonna has built an image on pushing boundaries and going against what other people believe she should be. So her “shocking” outfits and performance really shouldn’t be that shocking. So if Madonna wants to gyrate on stage with 20 year old men. It’s on brand with the image she has created for herself.
Also, I just want to point out Amal Clooney is 15 yrs George’s junior. And a lot of the women he has dated have been significantly younger than him. So he, like Madonna, prefers the company of younger people. But, no one seems to care.
@lykeitiz: Actually, I think Meryl and Babs were quite sexy as young actresses in, respectively, Manhattan, Silkwood, What’s up Doc, and Funny Lady. Of course, sexy is subjective, but I know there are other fans (and lovers) who shared this view. Btw, I thought Madonna looked great.
I thought Madonna’s performance had great thematic elements, but still lacked a certain spark. I think “Ghosttown” should have been the first single. She could have stunned the world if she washed off the makeup, worn a simple dress, and belted that song. For a woman who has made her career off shocking people, to show vulnerability like that, would have stole the show. That song has a beautiful simplicity and she should have embraced it.
Excellent and well-crafted comment.
Nothing to add.
Why was it necessary for Madonna to show her ass on the Grammys red carpet? She’s an attention-seeker – nothing more, nothing less.
Actors like Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt do not look their age as well yet no one is criticizing them for that.
Ageing female celebrities are the biggest targets of sexism and misogyny.
No, I’m sorry, but as an avid reader of both People Magazine AND The National Enquirer, I do not recall seeing either of these gentlemen in a Speedo lately.
Madonna needs to quit trying to be edgy and cover up a bit.
I love her, but enough is enough.
George Clooney doesn’t dress and try to act like someone half his age. Madonna is the one who is robbing the cradle going after young guys, constantly trying to surround herself with people who weren’t even born when her first greatest hits album came out, and desperately trying to remain relevant to the 25 and under crowd even though she’s pushing 60. Plenty of male rock stars get made fun of for being old and hitting up younger women, it’s not exclusive to Madonna. People make fun of Stephen Tyler and Keith Richards too. Madonna herself is the one that keeps dwelling on her own age, then when the media responds or comments, she cries foul and acts like she’s being attacked.
@TomOH: and you’re constantly bored with your own life to respond negatively to MADONNA’S! the ONLY ONE DWELL’N on MADONNA’s age is YOU TomOH…MADONNA knows exactly how old she is…and she DOES NOT follow society’s rules…society FOLLOWS HERS!
Shirley Manson is correct. It’s sexist. And the fact is, Madonna’s critics were saying this about her more than 20 years ago, on the release of her SEX book when she was only in her mid 30s, so the attacks are very much to do with the fact that she’s a woman and not doing what people want and expect her to do. Madonna isn’t hurting anyone, so why should it matters how she looks, or what she wears, or who she chooses to date? At 56, she’s still a huge commercial and cultural force and I’ve no doubt will continue to remain so, in spite of the usual army of moaning minnies.
@Uppity: get betn…the ONLY with a problem with MADONNA’s age is YOU UPPITY!(as yer screenname suggests)MADONNA will stop when MADONNA wants to stop…and just cuz she surrounds herself with men half her age is because MAYBE…just MAYBE…those guys like a woman her age!
Quit SHOUTING for Chrisakes!
Intelligent commenters can make their point without resorting to SHOUTING every other word.
Your entire comment is akin to scratching finger-nails on a blackboard.
@jockjack5: ummm jockhack5…MAYBE…cuz they are not in the same shape as MADONNA is and has maintained her entire career!
@krystalkleer: @krystalkleer: S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y jockhack5…SHOUT’N? what cuz i cap certain words…HA! yer so laughable and no doubt one of those “str8 act’n and appear’n mo’s” who pretend no one would know in public but are the 1st ones with their legs stapled to the ceil’n before the front door shuts!
@jockjack5: S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y jockhack5…SHOUT’N? what cuz i cap certain words…HA! yer so laughable and no doubt one of those “str8 act’n and appear’n mo’s” who pretend no one would know in public but are the 1st ones with their legs stapled to the ceil’n before the front door shuts!
@jar, @uppity: “And is age appropriateness now ageist?”
Yes, “age appropriate” is a term of oppression. It is just as oppressive to people like me on the “wrong” side of forty as saying that it is not appropriate for gay people to hold hands in public.
@uppity: “But the reaction of most will be “what were you thinking?” This does not make them “haters.””
Yes, it makes them haters. What business is it of theirs? Live and let live, the golden rule, etc. Americans so love to stick their noses into other people’s business. Maybe it is a relic of the Puritans.
Is Shirley Manson the bimbo who just married Charlie?
I don’t criticize Madonna for being old or because she’s a woman; I criticize her for being deluded, unpleasant, and irrelevant.
Yes, yes, and yes.
@vive: You’re awfully melodramatic. No one is oppressing Madonna. That’s a ridiculous notion. And your analogy makes absolutely no sense. I say more power to people who want to not act or look their age. That’s their prerogative. And if they’re comfortable in their skin, the reactions of others won’t matter at all. That’s real self-confidence. But, no one is protected from the judgments of others. Judgment is not oppression. Oppression only applies where someone is prohibited from expressing him/herself because of the sanctions/actions of others. If you’re 60 with a bad dye job and a stretched face or one that can’t move from so much work, don’t expect others not to notice or react. I would also add that many people who go this route express with their appearance their discomfort with themselves and/or the aging process.
@bottom250: I also agree, and it’s such a shame that people have to use such degrading comments just because they are not comfortable with the fact that she is so comfortable with herself. Why are women so scrutinized when they do something out of the ordinary or out of the norm, so to speak. It’s sad, and it’s a bit of a set back. Obviously as a society we have not made much progress when we think that people of a certain age should lead a certain type of life. Madonna is an icon, and will remain as such and she has earned it through hard work, committment, and consistency, to say the least. She shames women and men in their 20’s, and for some reason she’s suppose to appologize for her actions, or retire? Really?!!! I say to those that down her : ” Get a life, and when you find one, be happy and let other do the same”.
@BitterOldQueen: You only know the celebrity. You don’t know her personally to judge her that way.
I can’t stand when people post comments on what they consider facts. I don’t pretend to know a celebrity, therefore I don’t make comments about them that are not based on facts. I can tell you what I like about them as a performer or what I don’t, but I will not put them down or slander them just for the hell of it. what you think and what you know are 2 entirely different things.
If anybody is sexist, it’s Madonna. She’s traded on sexism her whole life. The way she puts her body on display almost reminds one of an adult film performer. She very similar to Kim Kardashian in this regard.
@moriahlandis: You state the obvious and I couldn’t agree more. But since the “celebrity persona” she herself has chosen to display is unpleasant; since that persona appears to be deluded about its talent and importance; and since–in my opinion, of course–that persona has continued to churn out music for much of the last decade that is at best adequate, and generally irrelevant, I stand by my original statement. She may be a wonderful, warm, kind, funny humanitarian in real life, who produces secretly amazing music just for herself, and ties the recordings up with a little bow and hides them away forever, but I can’t possibly know that. I’m only saying that her age and gender do not enter into my critique. I honestly couldn’t care less about either.
@jar: “But, no one is protected from the judgments of others. Judgment is not oppression.”
Yes, judgment is oppression. Ask any gay couple who get judgmental reactions for holding hands in public. Ask any interracial couple.
@vive: You apparently live under the delusion that any opposition is oppression. “Judgmental reactions” never prevented me from holding my partner’s hand. When you misuse terms such as oppression you devalue them to the point of irrelevance. My intellectual integrity and personal fortitude prohibit me from viewing slights or judgmental reactions as oppression. If a judgmental reaction is all you know of oppression, I suggest you enter the broader world.
DJ STEPHEN V
MADONNA RULES. Anyone who b*tches about age has a tiny little brain and can kiss my a*s and Madonna’s a*s too.
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