Madonna is a polarising force touching all facets of popular culture. At the time of writing this, Madonna has just released MDNA, her thirteenth studio album and is just about to embark on her ninth multi-national tour. With three greatest hits compilations, two film soundtracks and three official live records, Madonna is an artist with twenty one albums over a thirty year career. Never confined to music, Madonna also dabbles in film both in front and behind the camera, has written a controversial book, Sex (1992) and the children’s book series The English Roses (2003). Madonna is the worldwide best selling female artist of the twentieth century; The most successful solo artist to date; The second most successful musical act, second to The Beatles, to date; Has the highest selling children’s picture book to date; And tops the highest grossing concert tour to date. Few other celebrities attract as much passionate adoration from fans as they do scathing disapproval from critics, and no other celebrity has done so for such a continuously long time. Love her or hate her, no one can deny Madonna is one of the most potent forces in popular culture, ever, and truly a one of a kind celebrity.
Since Madonna turned 50, and even in the years leading up to the half century mark, a great deal of media commentary has focussed on her age, especially in terms of “acting her age.”
… Of course it isn’t the age specifically that is upsetting people. What is confronting is a 54 year old woman in hot-pants and leotards, with a string of twenty-something year old lovers, swearing, dancing, thrusting, gyrating, flipping the finger, singing and talking about sex -basically, it’s a 54 year old celebrity doing much the same thing as she has done her entire thirty year career. This popular obsession with Madonna’s age and public image stems from a position where no one knows quite how to react to a 54 year old, still relevant pop star as, quite simply, no other pop star has lasted this distance.This is an excerpt from a longer essay, published exclusively in Vivid Scribe’s Collected Features volume 1, available as a FREE ebook download here.