Madonna is making headlines this week for bearing her 57 year old breasts and bottom in a Givenchy dress at the Met gala.
Her revealing outfit was slammed across the internet.
Madonna responded to the backlash on Instagram, explaining that her dress was a political statement and that the reaction to it is
Proof that we still live in an ageist and sexist society.
While I’m not the biggest fan of her dress (which made me feel as though she could be a Game of Thrones extra), Madonna is right. The responses to her outfit at the Met gala are targeting her because of her age rather than her style.
Language used in the media suggests a good deal of scepticism exists surrounding her political conviction. Interestingly the media response is in complete contrast with the types of articles that appeared online when Rihanna wore a see through dress to the CFDA awards. Rihanna’s outfit was described as ‘must see’ and she was named ‘today’s look’ in OK! Magazine.
While Rihanna’s red carpet dress was more tastefully put together, I do wonder what the response might have been had someone such as Rihanna wore Madonna’s ensemble to the Met gala this week.
Whether Madonna intended her outfit to be a political statement or not she has raised a hugely important issue that is rarely brought to the fore.
Age discrimination doesn’t just affect those in the spotlight but also people in occupations around the world. Nearly a third of people between the age of 50 and state pension age in Britain are without paid work and women are at even more of a disadvantage than men.
Age discrimination is particularly disabling for women. If we look to Hollywood for evidence of this, how many older women do we see in leading roles in major films compared to men?
It is incredibly sad that in Europe where a generation of women that fought for equal pay and improvements in maternity leave, these same women are now being discriminated against and often pushed out of the workforce. In an interview for The Guardian Yvette Cooper summarises that
A toxic combination of sexism and ageism is causing problems for this generation
But it’s not only in the workplace that women face discrimination as they age. An older woman that dates someone younger t is a cougar. But what do we call an older man that does the same?
Why, why, why do people such as Piers Morgan, who flatteringly took to Twitter to comment on Madonna’s dress, still feel the need to police women’s outfits.
Of course the dress is showy and demands attention. It’s the Met gala. Madonna (like most celebrities) has always loved to shock and by continuing to do so now she is proving that age doesn’t have to be an obstacle for women. Women don’t have to stop being adventurous and pushing the boundaries when they reach a certain age.
Madonna’s BDSM-esque Givenchy dress embodies the ageist and sexist restraints our society places upon older women, dictating how they should dress, act and behave. Madonna is unapologetic in her sexuality and as for her dress, while it may be pretty awful stylistically, it could also be considered a symbol of liberation for women of age who wish to reclaim their bodies from societies ideals.
She is bold and fearless, showing comfort in her age, her body and her sexuality.
And if Madonna is wearing this dress as a cry for attention. What does this say about her need to cry for it when we so easily shower it down on younger celebrities?
So her outfit is bad, so her bum cheeks are out, so what!
I only hope that my bum looks that good at 57.