Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Time for Madonna to rebel again - by aging gracefully

I came across this Before and After pic of Madonna yesterday, and to me, it demonstrates that it's time for a change for Madonna.

Ignore the piss-poor Photoshop disaster on the right, because it's very fake, and you can see how fake it is by comparing it to the pic to the left.  Had you dudes not seen the unretouched pic to the right, you wouldn't know that you were lusting after a woman who looks old enough to be your grandmother (and for some of you, she probably is old enough to be your grandmother!).

No, instead I'm going to concentrate on the picture on the left; of Madonna in all her wrinkled glory.  Now, when I say "wrinkled glory", I don't mean that in an insulting way, regardless of how I make that sound.  Instead, it's a compliment, as I'm about to explain below.

First, let me say that Madonna is said to take excellent care of herself.  Eats right and exercises intensely to keep herself in the shape that she is for her performances.  Mega kudos to her, and I mean that sincerely.  As women age, it gets harder and harder to maintain their body's shape and tone, and Madonna is one of the better examples of celebrities who don't let their "party" lifestyles consume them.

However, even the best lifestyle habits can't prevent the onset of aging, and it shows on the pic above.  While Madonna does what she can to help maintain herself in top physical form, the kind of lifestyle she leads takes its toll.  In other words, partying wears on a body!

On top of that, consider over the years, all the chemicals that she's put in her hair to changes its color back and forth.  There is also all the chemicals from the make-up she's put on over that same time span, and other chemicals that are used to take the make-up off.  Add to this the exposure to sun, smoke, and other unhealthy pollutants in the air that's she's been exposed to all these decades during her concerts, and you have the skin to reflect 3+ decades of wear and tear.

During her long career, Madonna has sought to be a trend-setter, a risk taker, and to challenge the ideas and impressions of womanhood in our society.  In that, she deserves credit for the kinds of good changes in beliefs and attitudes about women that she's helped bring about.

However, there's an annoying personality flaw of hers that she hasn't been able to shake in all this time: she knows of no other way to be "daring" than to dress provocatively.  Dressing provocatively and striking poses that would make little old ladies faint is one thing when she did this while in her 20's; still doing these same things while in her 50's - and looking all of her 50+ years - is another matter entirely.  There is such a thing as aging gracefully!

Take the picture above.  In one respect, I can admire the picture because it shows how her skin reflects the years.  I've discussed before on my blog about women and body image issues, and how they can often be paralyzing for some women.  Guys don't understand how much body image is tied to a woman's sense of self-worth.  Yes, to you guys, it sounds like women are too vain for their own good, and I could go on and on about the origins of these body image issues, but that would take another blog post just to cover some of the basics! 

Instead, I want to bring up body image issues as it applies to Madonna, and the potential good that she could do for society.  As I said, Madonna has made a career out of challenging the norm and dressing provocatively.  Now, however, the dressing provocatively needs to stop, because the woman is in her mid-50's!

Look again at the pic above, and you see that the shot is with her legs spread apart!  You can bet that the pic was heavily Photoshopped because otherwise, men weren't going to be turned on by a wrinkled woman spreading her legs.  They even Photoshopped out the wrinkles in her legs!  And while older women of the past might have been shocked by the young Madonna because she was posing in "unladylike" poses, now older women are shocked because she's an old woman herself carrying on like she's still in her 20s.

While I think the dressing provocatively needs to stop, there is something else Madonna could do to still be the trend-setter and risk-taker that she so desperately wants to recapture:  She could challenge the norm, but in a different way.  Like my post title says above, she needs to age gracefully.  She wants to be daring?  Then go with a new look that will challenge the way women look at themselves.

For instance, let her hair get back to its natural color.  If it's going gray, then let it.  And ease up a lot on the make-up.  Or even better, stop using it altogether.  Right there that will be a challenge and a risk.  The real challenge here, though, will be for her to learn how to dress in such a way that will be flattering for her new look.  She could help society - and women in particular - by accepting aging as a natural process that we all will eventually go through.

But the main thing is, she can dress in a style that flattering for her new look, but who said that it still can't be sexy?  Can one be middle-aged and still sexy?  That's my challenge to Madonna to find out.

Madonna, stop spreading your legs like you're 20 years old.  Stop looking like you still need to "put out" to get people's attention.  You already have it!  Instead, show the wear and tear that your body has gone through, and be proud of them as your battle scars of life.  Wear those wrinkles with pride.  Show that you no longer have to justify your existence by looking hot - you've done all that. 

Show that you're now at a stage in your life that you've fought life's battles, and have come out having not just survived, but thrived.  Women already put themselves through enough misery over their looks while they're young - why extend that into their middle age?

Be old and proud, Madonna.  Show the world that it's okay to age, as only you can.

No comments: