Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number–Unless You’re Madonna: A Birthday Defense

What vexes me to no end about comments on an older woman’s aesthetic is that it always boils down to, “She looks great–for her age.” This is basically like saying, “Her skin looks great–for a leper.” There is nothing worse than a compliment masked as an insult, and this is usually what Madonna gets when it’s not simply an outright insult with reference to her continuing human tendency to become older. Ever since about 1994, when Madonna’s video for “Secret” (the Junior Vasquez remix) made it on to Beavis and Butt-head, the jibes at her age began to fly. She was, at that time, thirty-six.

One of many snakes Madonna must contend with
One of many snakes Madonna must contend with

As Beavis and Butt-head sit on their couch critiquing the video, it starts out nicely enough, with Beavis saying, “You know, I sure would like to do Madonna.” Butt-head adds, “Yeah, I’d like to have sex with her.” This semi-positive exchange quickly digresses into a comment about her physical appearance. Butt-head remarks, “Madonna looks pretty normal here.” Beavis returns, “Yeah, she just looks like a normal white-haired old lady walking down the street to get some groceries.” Butt-head continues,”For an old white-haired lady, she still looks pretty good.” When Beavis keeps talking about how he’d definitely bone Madonna in spite of her old lady look, Butt-head puts the final nail in the coffin of the affront by noting, “Beavis, you’d do your own white-haired grandma if you got the chance.”

And so it goes that Madonna would henceforth be judged not by her music but by her age. Now, on what marks her fifty-seventh year, the condemnation is worse than ever. And yet, it only seems to fuel the fire within Madonna to prove that everyone else is going to eat their words when they reach her decade and find that they look like complete shit and, moreover, have nothing insightful to say beyond their comparisons of cream of wheat flavors. I thusly put a curse on anybody who makes an ageist comment about Madonna on her birthday this year. May your bones rot and your skin shrivel if you express anything other than well wishes to the woman who has endured more flak regarding every year that ticks away her life than any other iconic female musician older than her (Dolly Parton, Cher and Barbra Streisand combined). And all because she refuses to succumb to the societal norm of transcending into a sexless, tarp-covered entity merely because she’s not thirty anymore (thirty is when pop stars are expected to pack it in and segue into the easy listening genre). This curse goes double for Drake.

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