While many people have written Madonna off in terms of being able to cause a stir the way she used to, the recent embroilment over her posting a picture of her 13-year-old son, Rocco Ritchie, holding a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in celebration of the New Year has proven that pop’s enfant terrible has still got it. Followers of Madonna on Instagram immediately responded with outrage, including snarky comments like, “Madonna still doing anything for attention” (and yes, it was written in that non-grammatical way).
Whether or not Madonna actually let her son and his friends drink the alcohol is irrelevant, but entirely likely based on Rocco’s own comment on his Instagram: “Me and @dom_sesto work hard behind the bar tonight #faded”. What seems pertinent is that Madonna was once condemned for her strictness as a parent (remember that phase in the mid-oos where it was newsworthy that she wouldn’t let her children watch TV?) and is now being criticized for just the opposite. It also calls into question the “above it all” existence of most celebrity children. First of all, Madonna took her brood to a luxury resort in a sequestered village (Gstaad) in Switzerland that most “commoners” have never heard of. Plus, the entire point of this family vacation was to attend Valentino’s New Year’s Eve party–so already we can give the woman a pass for having created an alternate reality for this scandalous event to have taken place. After all, the drinking age in Switzerland is sixteen anyway. She couldn’t have chosen a better place to have allowed her son to take a sip.
And let us also consider that most of our parents were kind enough to let us have a little taste for special occasions like New Year’s (unless, perchance, you grew up in a repressive environment), which means Madonna is actually a fairly normal parent. Like any world-famous person, however, her actions are going to be scrutinized heavily. But if there had been any true misdeed on her part, it seems unlikely that she would be so willing to parade her so-called negligence on a social media outlet through which she has upwards of a million followers.
While many media outlets have lambasted the Queen of Pop for her actions, other publications have proven overly snide about the affair, particularly the Vanity Fair article by Richard Lawson. It all goes back to a question posed in a 1991 Entertainment Weekly piece in the wake of yet another aspersion cast on Madonna over rumors that she was HIV-positive: “No matter what its source, the rumor puts an old question about Madonna in a new light: When a celebrity claims to reveal all about herself, how much privacy is she entitled to?” The answer is, as much as she fucking wants.