Good morning, Tuesday. This weather though. Blech.
So let's talk about Madonna for a minute. Her new album Madame X is getting panned left and right and I must admit it's not great and I also must admit her look is super bizarre. Whatever queen told her to wear an eye patch, cowboy hat, and bridal gown all at once has misguided her. I realize this might be a slight homage to the many phases of Ms. M, but, yea, it's not her best look.
But a recent Facebook comment on a friend's feed about Madge gave me pause. Because a woman commented on how bad the album was, saying simply "I wish she would just age gracefully". Come again?
As someone who is aging (newsflash we all are), I LOATHE that term.
Sure I know what she means. She means be more like a Catherine Deneuve. Or a Helen Mirren. Or a Meryl Streep. Or a Michelle Pfeiffer. Need I go on? I think not. Because aging gracefully really means just being naturally beautiful. And somehow being all aglow as your hormones change. It's nice in theory. But it's complete bullshit.
Because "grace" does not apply to every single woman on Earth. And you can say a lot about Madonna, but what about her and her illustrious, groundbreaking, sex-positive career has ever led you to believe she would "age gracefully"? Hers is not a life of grace. It's a life of rebelliousness, fierceness, in your face independence. Even if you're not a big fan of hers, you have to admit it- she changed popular culture and was a champion for women and their bodies and a new kind of empowerment.
All of this is messy stuff. And incidentally, none of that requires grace. So why on Earth would she go wafting into the ether, in a smart cardigan and slacks and an Hermès scarf? And trust me, if she wanted to do that she'd own that. But why is there this notion that women must go quietly into the twilight?
I've talked much about my complicated feelings surrounding aging pop and rock stars. But Madonna is in a class of her own. And the rules just don't apply to her. Let her live. Let her do her thing. Bad music? Sure. Super hot guy in her video for Medellin? You bet. Doing it all very much on her own terms? You know this. Cheers to her for always reinventing and taking risks.
Not all of us look like or act like what many think we should as we are getting older. I'm not opposed to grace in any way. But it's a stupid term when it comes to people who have always defied the odds and lived rebellious lives. Don't ask Madonna to retire to the study in sensible pajamas. She'll scratch your damn eyes out.
I think we need to vastly redefine what age looks like. How we feel about it. Our expectations around it. We have Diana Ross. We have artists who we perceive as more age appropriate, and somehow, Cher manages to dodge a bullet when it comes to the G word. But Madonna is her own thing. Let her do her. You do you. And we'll all be great. After all, she made it through the wilderness.
And even though her new album may be far from her best, I'm just glad she's still out there doing her thing. And if she wants to be weird and cha, cha, cha, then fuck it. Let her.
Cause that's what's up this graceless Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in living life on your own bloody terms. XO