Madonna's face at the Grammys, and the looks that followed

Madonna’s face at the Grammys, and the looks that followed


Look, I’m not sure exactly what happened to Madonna’s face, but like the rest of you, I can neutrally observe that most 64-year-olds aren’t coming out of late middle age. with an eyebrow line as smooth and hard as polished river rock. Earlier this week, she appeared at the Grammys instead [insert your own kind or unkind adjectives; I’m not going to do it for you]and people took notice of it in a very big way, and by the next morning news outlets like The Daily Mail had drawn in a whole scalpel of plastic surgeons to dissect what they believed had gone into the situation and into Madonna.

Soon the artist herself replied via Instagram. “A lot of people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me taken with a long lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone’s face!!” she wrote, and no, I don’t understand her capitalization rules but I’m reprinting them because with Madonna you never know when something is a mistake and when something is an organized message. “Once again I am caught up in the glare of ageism and misogyny that pervades the world we live in.”

She’s right, of course, about misogyny in particular. The takeaway from President Biden’s State of the Union address was, his best performance in yearsnot what’s going on with his eyelids? but the takeaway with Madonna – an icon who has ruled culture since Ronald Reagan was in power – was, did madonna’s face eat madonna’s face?

Familiar positions were taken. Either he was sad that Madonna felt the need to undergo youth preservation medical procedures, or he was sad that Madonna was on trial for deciding to undergo youth preservation medical procedures.

The only decent public response is to accept that whatever happens to people’s cheekbones is the business, solely, of the people who have those cheekbones. Celebrities age in all sorts of ways, and our collective responsibility is to create a society where others make choices based on what makes them happy and not based on our toxic expectations or fears about aging.

I enjoyed the novelist Jennifer Weiner take madonna, which was published in the New York Times on Wednesday: “The greatest chameleon of our time, a woman who always intended to reinvent herself, was doing something sneakier, more subversive, serving us as both a new – if not necessarily improved – face, and a critical side. In short, whatever Madonna looks like, she looks that way on purpose, and she looks that way to provoke us into deeper thought. Think Madonna Louise Ciccone doesn’t know what she’s doing?

So, in the spirit of deeper thought:

I don’t think this discussion is about cosmetic procedures. I don’t think it’s particularly Madonna either, although a woman who popularized cone bras, gaping teeth, Canadian tuxedos and peroxide hair will be disproportionately scrutinized for her aesthetic choices. forever and ever.

We’re interested in what happened to Madonna’s face because the real discussion is about labor, maintenance, effort, illusion, and everything else we want to know about women’s relationships with their own bodies.

There’s an obscure passage in “Pride and Prejudice” – wait, it’s going somewhere – that I’ve never been able to get out of my head. The Bennet sisters take turns playing the piano at a social gathering. Middle sister Mary ‘worked hard for knowledge and achievement’ and was the best player in the group, but Elizabeth, ‘easygoing and unaffected, had been listened to with much more pleasure, although she didn’t play as well “.

The problem with Mary, explains Jane Austen, is that she showed her work. She showed the struggle. His piano playing did not look fun, which made his audience uncomfortable. The guests much preferred the sister who made it look easy instead of revealing it was difficult.

This passage sums up the female experience so much. How we love a celeb who claims they ate a burrito before walking down a red carpet; as we pity the one who confesses to having spent a week living with six almonds and electrolytic water to get into the dress. How ‘lucky genes’ are a more palatable answer than ‘blepharoplasty and a Brazilian butt lift’.

Madonna’s societal infraction at the Grammy Awards, if you believe there was an infraction, it’s that she showed her work. She showed it both literally and figuratively. She didn’t show up looking casually “relaxed” or “rested,” or as if she had just returned from a week at the Malibu Ranch. There was nothing subtle or easy about what happened to Madonna’s face. There was nothing that could be politely ignored. The woman presented herself as if she had shoved two plump potatoes in her cheeks, not so much a throwback to her youth as a departure from any consistent age.

Madonna’s face forced her uneasy audience to reflect on the underlying factors and decisions: ageism, sexism, self-doubt, beauty myths, cultural relevance, creative reinvention. hope, work, work, work, work.

That’s what I think is expected of me, said his face. That’s what I feel I have to do.

The more plastic Madonna looks, the more human she becomes. That’s what I kept thinking when I looked at his face. One of the most famous women on the planet and still the anti-aging industrial complex got under her skin.

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