Madonna Has Aged: What Happens to Women When Youth Fades and Rebellion Remains

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This article is published in the number 4-5 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until January 31, 2023

Madonna she never called herself a feminist before age 50. Her career has been spent debunking and laughing at all the reactions, but she’s never called it a “gender struggle.” That it was hers was enough for her.

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Teenage me agreed. I felt liberated from his way of showing the body, using excess as a language, claiming desire and pleasure, crossing the boundaries of heterosexuality without being locked up in additional labels and doing it by climbing the charts, in defiance of a modest vocal capacity (they were the timing of Whitney’s warbles) and a woodiness in the dance of a competitor of dancing with the Stars. I saved up four months to be able to put aside the 70,000 lire needed to buy secretly Sexthe erotic book in which she naked did things like spray sunscreen on Naomi Campbell from a tube held like a phallus.

The ability to inspire rebellion to those on the margins made her an icon of many worlds without the possibility of representation, which in those years found in her their queen of rags, rough and determined, bold and assertive, the one who, where the others had to knock, kicked in the door and left it open for everyone.

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Then something happened. Madonna she grew old and found that breaking the rules was forgiven her only because youth and rebellion are twins. But what happens to women when youth fades and rebellion remains? It happens that you realize that Bruce Springsteen can sing in skinny jeans at 74 and no one tells him that he can’t age with dignity. It happens that the 80-year-old Rolling Stones continue to take stainless every time they go on stage and there’s no one who accuses them of not knowing how to age. Instead, she is no longer forgiven for being herself. She looks ridiculous in hot pants. Pathetics in leotard. Caricature them. Embarrassing. That she can’t accept herself. Who disrespects his daughter by staying in the same aesthetic frame.

These judgments, familiar to us who meet at least one male a day who tries to define us according to his tastes, recently came back to my mind, when the president of the most important Italian literary prize, obviously regretting the times when political correctness existed, posted the strip of an old edition of de The bachelor. Mrs Robinson was described in it as “a half-nymphomaniac, half-alcoholic mature woman”. At first I smiled, remembering that the mature woman in the film of the same name was played by a 36-year-old Anne Bancroft, then I thought of Madonna.

If political correctness is the one thing that keeps you from calling black people in white words, homosexuals in homophobic words, and 40-year-old women who sleep with 20-year-olds in bigoted neighbor whispers, then the ‘she invented, when more than 30 years ago he gave us the words we didn’t have and forced even the privileged to dance to the rhythm of an alternative. Incorrectness doesn’t get old.

Other articles by Vanity Fair that might interest you:

– Me, her and that girls’ party in Turin

– The Icon Issue: Luigi & Iango, the artists who photographed Madonna for Vanity Fair

Samantha Cristoforetti star of the year-end cover of Vanity Fair

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Source: Vanity Fair

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