Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Does Madonna posing topless at 56 make her a good or bad role model for women over 50?
This is the question I was asked to address as part of a discussion on BBC Radio Tees earlier today. Madonna posed in various states of undress in a series of photos for Interview magazine as she was interviewed by David Blaine.
The photos have been hugely discussed in the press and have certainly gained Madonna the attention she so obviously craves – but in terms of being a role model – well here’s my personal take on this.
Madonna could have tried to gain column inches for making a great new record or giving a stunning film performance – instead she chose to pose topless. For me this is a far easier route for her to take. It would have been far more positive had she demonstrated that she can deliver something through talent – so many women over 50 are setting up businesses, travelling the world, writing books, creating events for charities – all far more constructive than posing topless.
Madonna is not typical of most 56 year olds
The photos themselves appear to have been heavily photoshopped – if Madonna had truly wanted to be a positive role model then surely she could have insisted that the images NOT be photoshopped. Also, given the rumoured amount of ‘work’ Madonna is rumoured to have had done, she is not typical of many 56 year olds. The fact that Madonna has been happy to promote similar images earlier in her career does not enable her to present this set as something new – she’s done it before. To me is comes across as being desperate for attention. Interestingly in this et of photos she is wearing gloves in most of them and she has often received comments in the past for having ‘older’ looking hands – perhaps Madonna is sensitive about her hands showing her true age.
We do need to challenge and change perceptions of women over 50 in the media, I’m just not sure that this is the way to go about it .
Overall I’m not sure that in posing for these photos at 56 Madonna is embracing her age or trying to deny it. What do you think – positive or negative?