Happy Birthday Madonna!!
Sixty years old!
An Icon, a Superstar and the ultimate Game Changer!
Since before I existed Madonna has been performing and wowing audiences on a humongous international level. Love her or hate her she is still one of the most famous women to ever grace the modern pop culture era and is still going strong!
But as she hits another birthday milestone one of the hot topics that has come to light recently is her age. I can’t help but feel this opinion seems to be flavoured with a hint of judgement.
It seems her male counterparts are praised for their golden years; they are thought to be in their ‘prime’. We speak about people like Mick Jagger ageing but it’s something that’s considered a celebration rather than a criticism and he’s 15 years old than Madonna!
It’s not only the Celebrity world which is affected by sexism and ageism. We deal with it on a daily basis through off-handed remarks, social media, family, old-fashioned opinions etc… But why should we be ashamed or embarrassed about our age!? We shouldn’t feel like need to lie about our age.
A lot of women say they are actually happier with age and experience behind them. They know themselves, care less about what people think and are no longer concerned with conforming to what people expect of them. This sounds like bliss! I’d take this any day over my teenage years of insecurity, hiding my face full of makeup and never being thin enough … despite being considered ‘lanky’ at the time! Whenever I look back at pictures of my younger self I wonder ‘What was I so worried about?’.
Madonna has always pushed the boundaries of what’s considered appropriate so why should she stop now? Who decides the age limit to be able to wear certain attire?
The male equivalent of the shaming ‘Mutton dressed as Lamb’ label seems to be the middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis; buying a motorbike and leaving his wife for a younger woman. So I wouldn’t say the obsession with ageing is just catered to women but it does seem to be more publicised and stigmatised when it comes to the ‘fairer sex’.
Mother Nature lacks a bit of compassion in this area too. As women approach 30 pressure from society and her own body clock to enter into Motherhood becomes a constant niggling anxiety for a lot of women. Nature dictates we can’t wait as long as men can but if someone isn’t ready to have a baby or isn’t interested in being a Mum surely that’s her business?
Men can Father children well into their 60’s, even 70’s and women are judged for having a baby in her 40’s. It feels like an unfair advantage that men have. And if a woman does choose to have a baby later in life the claws come out just like they did for Brigitte Nielson when she revealed she was pregnant at the age of 54.
Just like Brigitte, Madonna is in an industry that monetizes on beauty, youth and some could even argue the insecurities of women. Madonna refuses to care what the critics say and continues to wear the same attire that would be considered risqué for even a 25-year-old to wear. In my opinion, I think this is a great political statement and takes serious balls to break the mould; maybe we could have taken a leaf out of her book when we were younger instead of bowing down to other people’s opinions.
Personally, I wouldn’t wear the clothes I did as a teenager because a) they were a mismatch of things I thought looked good and b) as I’ve got older my taste in fashion has changed. I’ve never been too comfortable showing off my body, preferring to go for comfort rather than fashion; that’s just how I am. Now I’m older I figured out I can go for both; I’m more the demographic for ‘Zara’ than ‘Forever 21’ nowadays. But also I would like to think if I did have a complete change of heart and dress more extravagant I could do this without feeling like I’m ‘not allowed’.
I also appreciate a beautiful woman no matter what her age, I even think some women look better with a bit of age. I prefer how I look now compared to how I looked when I was 17 years old with puppy fat around the edges. I know what suits me instead of trying to copy what my friends wore and what suited them.
Women are also more prone to invest in surgical procedures to stay ‘youthful’ and ‘attractive’; although saying this in recent years it seems more popular for men to go down this route as well. Beauty Brands exploit women’s insecurity surrounding age to make money. They strategically market their products to have the ‘magical formula’ that will apparently take years off ‘Death Becomes Her’ Style. I don’t think I’ve actually used a product where I thought ‘I look younger!’. If I ever have thought this it’s when I’ve had more sleep and was eating healthier.
In recent years going grey has taken the fashion world by storm. It’s mainly sported on younger women, but there are definitely some older women embracing their silver hair.
I remember the women in my family desperately trying to cover up grey hairs with blonde boxes of ‘Wella’. Whereas men were seen as ‘sexy’ flaunting the silver fox look. But saying this let’s not think about those cheesy commercials enticing men to dye their hair charcoal black.
Meet Eveline Hall a 72-year-old Classic Model signed to the prestigious ‘Models 1’ Model Agency. She has worked with plenty of renowned fashion brands internationally, jet sets across the globe and has a job most twenty-somethings could only dream of! How admirable is this for a woman who is monumentally past the discriminating ‘shelf life’ stage!
A lot of women fall into the status quo by settling down and working a 9 -5 to help pay off the Mortgage. Nothing wrong with this but some may only find out what they really want when they’re older. We shouldn’t have to deal with a ‘missed opportunity’ culture that discriminates against people finding their passion later in life. At least female models are getting some kind of break with agencies expanding their categories to ‘Classic’ and ‘Curve’ instead of just ‘Main Board’ and ‘New Faces’. What this means is that the world now realises that you can be beautiful, even if you’re not skinny and/or younger.
Even though I am not overly thrilled about some of the ways society is changing; I am however noticing a new age where a celebration of one’s self is being recognised. So when I see derogatory comments about someone’s age, sexual preference, gender etc… it tells me we have some way to go before we are all considered ‘equal’ in societies eyes. There’s a change occurring in the way people think but I also fear that things are still the same just on a more subtle level as they know they can’t be as expressive with their judgement as they may have once been allowed to be, so it goes on in more of a devious way. But as long as it’s not the ‘norm’ and they have an element of fear about their prejudices we are making progress.
I think there’s more to a woman than her age. Confidence, kindness and wisdom are all just as beautiful as a wrinkle-free girl with toned abs, if not more.
Let’s celebrate age, and not give ourselves a time limit to feel beautiful and desirable.
This is your life you only get the one. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, live it as you please, you always have the right to feel good about yourself.