Thursday, February 9, 2012

Madonna: Has she aged out of sexy?

 (Note: It's possible this video will disappear like many of the others of this performance on Youtube.)

I've been obsessing. It happens all the time because that's what obsessing means sometimes, especially when I perceive an injustice. This time I'm obsessing about Madonna and some of the comments I heard and read about how she was too old to perform the half-time show on the Superbowl. She's 53, which makes her too old to .... I don't know. Be Madonna? Be like a virgin? Be sexy?

I don't get it. People don't complain that Cher is too old (65) or Tina Turner (72) to get up on stage and shake their money-makers with their dancing boys. I don't remember any comments about Mick Jagger (68), who dances like he's having a seizure or Roger Daltrey (67), although I remember worrying at his age he might put his shoulder out. But those performers are all older than Madonna.

How about the ones who are her age? Michael Jackson would be 53 this year. I can't imagine anybody would have said he was too old to moonwalk. Prince, also 53, is probably the only man his age who could dance in those boots she wore. Most of us couldn't even walk in them.

 She's an icon just like the other performers I mentioned, so what is it about Madonna that makes her too old?

I can understand hating on her for other reasons. Word is she lip-synched the performance. OK, I'll admit a dip in respect over that, but I'll bet she's not the first and won't be the last.

She's also rumored to have suffered a hamstring injury so maybe she wasn't as limber as she might have been, but I sure didn't notice that when she was doing those squats all in a row. I don't care how young or old you are, go ahead and try that shit in a pair of high-heeled, over-the-knee boots.

I can believe people might slut-hate her, but I'd again have to make the comparison to her male contemporaries. The king of pop, Michael Jackson, was the first to grab his crotch and hump his hand and call it dancing. Then he was charged (although not convicted) of being a pedophile. And then he hung his baby son off a balcony, but that's not slutty, it's just stupid. If he were still alive, would anybody say he was too old to perform this year?

And Prince? Prince is the king of slut. "Darling Nikki," "Little Red Corette, "almost any song he wrote and sang" reek of slut. And Purple Rain is still one of the most misogynistic movies I've ever watched. Maybe he has to make up for being so tiny. I dunno. But Madonna is not the first 1958 slut-baby to take the halftime stage.

I might have let the whole thing fade away but once I heard Madonna had aged out of being sexy, I was bombarded with incidences of ageism this week. I'll just mention three.

  1.  A younger woman told Sue Sylvester to "wake up and smell the menopause" on Glee. It was part of a longer rant about how Sue was too old to .... I don't know. Live, maybe.
  2. I was grading a narrative one of my students had written. In three pages about going with her boyfriend to a Michigan game, she related stories about two "stupid old ladies" who pissed them off--one because she fell right in front of them and the other because she cheered too loudly for Michigan.
  3. When I showed one of my classes a "Most Interesting Man in the World" Dos Equis commercial, my students couldn't do a decent analysis of it because most of them couldn't get over him being so old he was "gross" and "disturbing." I've never gotten that reaction before, but it was one of those weeks.
He looks like a man who knows his cookies

I considered asking them what they thought about Madonna being too old but I didn't want to hear it. Most of them couldn't keep up with her on the dance floor and she could probably beat even the guys at arm-wrestling, but I have no doubt they'd love telling me how gross and disgusting she is because .... 

... she's 53 years old. I have a lot more I could say about how that makes me feel personally, but I'll just let Madonna respond.

Can you count to 53 by ones, children?

 What do you think? Is Madonna too old to take the stage and rock her iconic magic? Or is it finally time we stopped using age as an excuse to hate women?


  1. I agree! I thought her dancing wasn't as lively as some of her older performances, but I figured that was due to her sprained ankle and tall boots being limiting. The only complaint I had about the whole show was that her new song is horrible.

    I was surprised when I heard the age hate. I commented on Facebook during the show that Madonna was shuffling, because that was just awesome. I got a comment from a friend saying " If you play the halftime show in reverse you can see where they shopped out her walker." Then on Monday morning, a lady that I work with (she is around 55) commented on Madonna being too old. She even said that Madonna likely looks horrible under all of that make up and fake hair.

    It's so hateful, but why exactly? I wonder if it is due to society thinking that as men age they get more sexy, and as women age they get less sexy.

    1. The funny thing is that often women's libidos are higher when they're older (cougars or not) and as men get older, a lot of them can't keep up, even with pharmaceutical help.

      I want a day when everybody in the whole world thinks all women are sexy no matter what their age.

  2. Adore you for writing about this--one of my pet topics. Madonna and I share the same birthday, although I am a year older, so even less entitled to breathe air on this planet (so some of the young may believe). I was irked by the criticism of her based on her age as well!

    1. Breathe on, Melanie. I'm probably taking it way more personally than Madonna is. And it's not necessarily young people who are saying it.

  3. Madonna ROCKED! And she looks and moves better than a lot of her younger counterparts! Counterparts that will tell you that she was one of their inspirations!!!! I have always been and will always be a Madonna fan (as Reticula probably remembers). She is gutsy and has set the bar high for a lot of performers! She pushed the envelope for many years (not always in the best way but pushed she did)! Go Madge! Helen Mirren (66) may not be a singer but she is still considered by many to be one of the sexiest actresses today!

    1. She always seemed authentic to me. Definitely a risk-taker, but also comfortable about her own huge sexuality. I'd probably like going out on the town with her and getting outrageous. I KNOW I would!

  4. I'll say two things about Madonna.

    1. I didn't really find her sexy even when she was in her twenties.
    2. The halftime show had some of the worst choreography I've seen, and she did most of it half-assed.

    But she has just as much right to get up there and do it as Cher, Mick Jagger, Bowie, Axl Rose (he's FIFTY now) or anyone else. As long as people buy tickets, more power to them.

    1. I never bought one of her CDs either, and the choreography wasn't what I expected from her, until I heard she'd been injured.

      As for Axl Rose, he shouldn't be allowed to perform with those ugly fucking braids. Does he look in a mirror?

  5. I can't believe it took me so long to come read your blog. I love you woman. You are awesome.. and gaaaww, yes, he does look like he knows his "cookies"...

    I remember when I was 11 and playing with barbies. I wanted my girls to be 17 or 18 - 20 was pushing it and 30 was old. Then I him mid-20s and realized that no, it's 40's that's old.

    Now, I'm in my 40's and I love how at each "age", we seem to be attracted to others in that same age-range (not to say we can't appreciate young/older).

    Don't worry.. those people complaining about Madonna will one day grow up and mature and hopefully get wiser, and realize that, wow, she really did look damn good and that 30's, 40's and 50's aren't really so bad (I wouldn't go back to my 20's or 30's for anything.. much).

    1. Welcome, Judi! I love you too. :-)

      I'm definitely better now than I was in my 20's and 30's. I wouldn't go back either. I'm way more fun now!

  6. Madonna is a living icon, and despite working in the industry for years now she still looks sexy! Age should not be an impeding factor... as long as you take care of your body, you'll stay healthy. And the fact that she still has a hot sexual appeal is a thumbs-up!

    1. Amen, sister! I wish I had her muscles.