How Madonna, Who’s Been Bullied for Her Looks for Years, Found a Meaning in it All
The 5th of February, 2023, marked the 65th annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The show, honoring the world’s best musical performers, was a huge success. However, it was not the winners of the coveted statuettes who made the front pages of the newspapers the next morning but Madonna, who had been invited to announce the nominees.
Hate after the Grammys
Madonna appeared at the 2023 Grammy Awards to announce Sam Smith and Kim Petras with their hit “Unholy.” Initially, the diva was asked to present the evening’s main award, Album of the Year. However, she decided to take this opportunity to participate in a historic moment — announcing the first trans woman ever to perform at this event. A choice that’s quite characteristic of Madonna.
However, the singer unwittingly drew all the attention to herself. “Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech, which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim, many people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me,” the singer wrote on her social media.
The 64-year-old pop diva’s appearance was widely discussed on social media. In the comments, people wrote that she seemed more like Madonna’s lookalike, that she had ruined her former beauty, and even that the star had betrayed other women by changing for the sake of fashion. This angered the singer, and she didn’t hesitate to share her thoughts, “Once again, I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in.”
The star believes the modern world refuses to honor women over 45, punishing them every time instead. According to Madonna, she’s been waiting for years for society to change and start respecting women. She ended her speech with the words from one of Beyoncé’s songs: “You won’t break my soul.”
The extent of the problem
Some people defended Madonna too. They noted that even when she was 30, she was also widely discussed, and people always found things about her to pick on. The star herself shared that over her four decades in the world of showbiz, she’s learned one secret: If you’re called scandalous, provocative, or shocking, then you’re doing something worthwhile.
In recent years, her looks have been discussed by everyone. The singer sees this as a problem of the modern world and, more precisely, of the age of social media. Of Instagram, where the star has 18 million followers, she says: “It’s made to make you feel bad.” Madonna is happy that she’s lived most of her life without social media, and instead of comparing herself to others and feeling constant pressure, she spent her time developing as an artist.
However, Madonna is not the only famous woman who has been subjected to this kind of hate. The issue of judging people for their appearance has long since transcended specific age groups or fields of work. In 2021, TV presenter Charlotte Crosby, who is barely over 30, was the subject of a 2-part series called Celebrities: What’s happened to your face? It’s worth noting that the show received over 7,000 complaints from viewers.
The stars of And Just Like That..., Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis, also faced a similar problem. The former shared how tired she is of hearing about her alleged bravery for having grey hair. The actress notes that men are rarely told that. Davis added: “I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’ve got this little 3-year-old son, and I carry him around and it’s all good — but, no, I’m on television, where every bit of my physical being is analyzed.”
Madonna’s life’s work
Many would find it maddening to be the subject of ridicule from so many people for such a long time. Madonna, on the other hand, is cut from a different cloth. In this eternal struggle, she’s found the meaning of her creativity and of her entire life: “People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it’s that I’m not pretty enough, I don’t sing well enough, I’m not talented enough, I’m not married enough, and now it’s that I’m not young enough.”
“I’m being punished for turning 60.” According to Madonna, the older she got, the more often she was bullied. Moreover, it largely came from women, who one would think should understand and support the singer. It was at that moment that the star knew what she wanted to dedicate herself to next. She dreams of paving the way for future generations of women where they can be themselves without fear of being misunderstood.
Madonna is not about to start making excuses for who she is or what she looks like. The star has never done that and never will. She’s setting an example for young women, showing them that other people’s opinion is not the most necessary thing in life. Much more valuable is your own happiness and inner freedom. And those who really matter to her are by her side— the singer’s six children.
Not long ago, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Madonna talked about motherhood and how she teaches her daughters and sons freedom. The freedom of who and what they can be: “And to see them happy, to witness their growth, to watch them evolve and then to find the things they love. Most of my happiness comes from my children. And much more from the inspiration that some artists give me.”