Madonna’s NYT profile is amazing: ‘We are a marginalized group, women’

2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

Madonna turned 60 years old last year. She turns 61 in a few months. I guess she didn’t have much to promote last August, so we’re getting some “Madonna at 60” articles now, because she has a new album (Madame X). I’ve read a lot of Madonna interviews over the years, and maybe three or four years ago, there was definitely a shift. Madonna was no longer a shock-artist, but what changed is that she didn’t seem to WANT to shock us anymore. Her interviews were, at times, surprisingly substantive, as she came to grips with ageing within the music industry and daring to still make art in her late 50s and all of that. The New York Times has a lengthy new article/interview with Madonna this week, and it’s best to just set some time aside to let the piece wash over you. It’s not a straight interview, and Madonna doesn’t always give straight answers. But it’s a good read. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

When songs from Rebel Heart leaked: “There are no words to describe how devastated I was. It took me a while to recover, and put such a bad taste in my mouth I wasn’t really interested in making music.” She added, “I felt raped.”

She’s lonely in Portugal: “It’s quite medieval and feels like a place where time stopped in a way, and it feels very closed…There’s a cool vibe there, but where I was living with my kids, I felt very cut off from a lot. It was FIFA and my kids’ school and that’s it. I’m fighting with the plumber…. I really wanted to make friends.”

What she hopes she represented in her early days: “A woman fearlessly expressing herself and saying, ‘I’m encouraging all of you to be independent, to speak your mind, to express your sexuality freely without shame, to not allow men to objectify you, to objectify yourself’ — I don’t know. All of those things seemed like the natural way of where we should be going. And strangely, a lot of feminists criticized me for it, and I got no support from that group. They thought, Well, you can’t use your sexuality to empower yourself as a female, which I think is rubbish, because that’s part of who I am and part of me as a female and a human being, my sexuality. That’s not the only thing, that wasn’t my only weapon and that wasn’t the only thing I was talking about.”

On Harvey Weinstein: “Harvey crossed lines and boundaries and was incredibly sexually flirtatious and forward with me when we were working together; he was married at the time, and I certainly wasn’t interested…I was aware that he did the same with a lot of other women that I knew in the business. And we were all, ‘Harvey gets to do that because he’s got so much power and he’s so successful and his movies do so well and everybody wants to work with him, so you have to put up with it.’ So that was it. So when it [his downfall] happened, I was really like, ‘Finally.’ I wasn’t cheering from the rafters because I’m never going to cheer for someone’s demise. I don’t think that’s good karma anyway. But it was good that somebody who had been abusing his power for so many years was called out and held accountable.”

Trump has a weak character, typical of alpha males: “They’re overcompensating for how insecure they feel — a man who is secure with himself, a human who is secure with themselves, doesn’t have to go around bullying people all the time.”

Marriage didn’t agree with her: “I found myself as a wife, in both of my marriages, being as I think everybody is: You try to please another person, and sometimes you find you are not being who you really are. That’s the struggle, I suppose, of being in a marriage or a relationship, especially as a woman. We often think we have to play down our accomplishments or make ourselves smaller, so we don’t make other people feel intimidated or less than.”

On ageing: “Stop thinking, just live your life and don’t be influenced by society trying to make you feel some type of way about your age or what it is you’re supposed to be doing. We are a marginalized group, women. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you stop fighting against it or defying it or refusing to be pigeonholed or put in a box or labeled or told you can and can’t do things. What is the truth? Your truth when you’re 18 is not going to be your truth when you’re 28 or when you’re 38. Life is not black and white. It’s gray, and one minute you’re going to feel so strongly and believe in something so strongly, and then maybe you won’t in five years.”

[From The New York Times]

I found this article to be both overwrought, overwritten and yet… this is the most interesting I’ve found Madonna in a long time. Think of how bold it is to be where she is now and just like “marriage doesn’t agree with me” or “stop thinking about ageing and just live” and “objectify yourself, it’s empowering.” I used to think Madonna was a rebel without a cause, that there was nothing really behind her pop songs and ever-changing image. But the message was always there, wasn’t it? Just do whatever the f–k you want to do, just like any man would. Be a boss, be a sexual being, be a nutcase, be old, be tired and be an artist, all at once, just like a 60 year old man would be.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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83 Responses to “Madonna’s NYT profile is amazing: ‘We are a marginalized group, women’”

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  1. JanetFerber says:

    Love Madonna. Commentators: please show Madonna some kindness. We all have to stick together.

    • Wow says:

      This is not okay, I do not have to be kind or stick together with a person who participates in sketchy adoption practices, trivializes rape, lacks the self awareness to be intersectional and does a host of other obnoxious and damaging stuff.

      Just because someone is a woman doesn’t make her above accountability or my ally. I’m especially not going to “stick together” with a white woman who does and participates in sketchy stuff in Africa. She is not my ally, she is my direct colonial aggressor.

      Hard pass, hope that was kind enough.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        The things you said are more critical than unkind. I think there’s a difference between the two- between that and some of the other nastiness that’s a recurring theme around women like Madonna. (At the same time though, I also don’t expect allies- especially those who spend years and decades in the public eye- to be unproblematic in every area. When they can F up they can be called out, but ‘Cancel Culture’ has become toxic and unequal in its own way).

      • Wow says:

        @Otaku fairy I don’t agree with cancel culture. However, at some point its inappropriate to continue to allow a person to be a mouthpiece of a movement.

        She did wonders for feminism, however …. her time is up. She clearly can’t stop stealing from cultures, partaking in and financially supporting abuses in Africa, and refuses to acknowledge her lack of intersectionality. Not to mention she trivializes rape….. repeatedly.

        If you cant do it right, you have no business on the pulpit. I would be willing to reevaluate if she acknowledged and apologized, then stopped the behavior. She hasn’t though and she can go away until she does. Being a woman doesn’t earn her my support.

      • crass says:

        @wow – yes to everything you said (both posts). she is peak white woman feminism.

  2. Whitecat says:

    Yeah, I still have my issues with her, especially when she performed in Eurovision. Still I appreciate her role in women’s movement… but still.

  3. LoonyTunes says:

    Imagine if you add intersectionality to being a white woman…

    • Maria says:

      Came here to say this.
      She knows the POC whose culture she ripped off of are more marginalized than her, I hope?

    • buensenso says:

      I would really like to know why people are so bitter about white women. feminism is about women, not white women or black women, but women. but you seem to think white women are doing something wrong. what should they do? and what are black women doing for white women? are they doing anything that would justify that one sided criticism of white women? what is beyonce doing for white women that madonna isn’t for black women? I just don’t understand the hate.

      • Kath says:

        Allow me – as a white woman – to respond. Unfortunately, a lot of feminism has been grounded in the privilege that comes with race and class, with wealthy and university educated white women advancing the cause for themselves, but not advocating for black, brown, working class or poor women, and – in some cases – actively throwing them under the bus.

        I think this is also a function of the times – particularly as far as second wave feminism goes.

        I guess you could argue that wealthy and/or highly-educated women were the only ones in the 1960s who could really argue from a position of economic strength – and black women, in particular, who were already fighting for civil rights wouldn’t have had that advantage/freedom – but it meant that a lot of women got left behind as a result.

        I find the likes of Germaine Greer particularly odious in this respect, and not unlike Madonna in her general narcissism and cluelessness. (And who is likewise a patronising arsehole when it comes to Indigenous peoples). For an example of a contemporary ‘feminist’ who is appallingly clueless, see: Mia Freedman and her treatment of Roxane Gay.

      • Haapa says:

        This is so tone deaf I don’t even know how to respond. You need to examine why you are so defensive. PoC are not here to educate you. Material on intersectionality is easy to find so you are simply being obtuse, which is gross.

  4. Flying fish says:

    Madonna’s music almost always carried a message, whether it was about her personal cry, fears, joy, love, sexuality etc. the message was always there.

    • buensenso says:

      that’s what will always stay true. and nobody can take it away from her. she was deep, interesting, intelligent and important. she changed the entire culture. who can say that about themselves? which musician changes people’s perception about themselves now?

      • Some chick says:

        What’s really fascinating to me about Madonna is how she really did come up from nothing. Disco and Jellybean and vogueing were all important parts, but she got there.

        When Vogue came out, it was cultural appropriation up one side and down the other. When she performed it at the Super Bowl, it forced the dominant culture to have respect for vogueing. Her halftime show was better than anyone else’s except for Prince!

        I think she’s defo smarter than she looks. I also have respect for her for learning the guitar and improving her singing. She is nothing if not a professional.

      • Bella Bella says:

        Deep? “Celebration”? “Holiday”? “Lucky Star”? “Material Girl”? Autotuned singing?

  5. Sierra says:

    Lovely interview but I will disagree about the karma bit. Wishing justice to happen won’t affect your own karma.

    I sincerely pray that those rapists, pedos, Trump, Republicans etc all see hell on Earth….

    • Selena says:

      They all will. Unfortunately, we are along on the ride with them. Equally unfortunately, they have the money to “survive” climate change disasters, not many of us do.

  6. minx says:

    Sounds honest. I loved “I’m fighting with the plumber.”

  7. Becks1 says:

    Yup, “just like any man would.” I think that’s always been Madonna’s thing. I’m going to be sexual, and I’m going to enjoy sex, and I’m going to speak my mind, and I don’t give a flying eff what you say about it – just like a man would.

  8. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    It’s nice she can finally see her body of work, in hindsight, and be proud. She was pushy and controversial which is why I liked her. The very first time I put my feet on a club dancefloor Lucky Star was playing.

    • elimaeby says:

      I hope I’m not overstepping when I say, Mabs, that I adore seeing your comments here. They’re always interesting, funny, poignant. What a life it sounds like you’ve lived so far! Thanks for hanging around here and bringing a smile to me every morning.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        You just made my day elimae! My week. My month! Lately, I sit missing my grown sons and waxing nostalgia lol. But Celebitchy has been my mornings for so long because we all seem to live touching ground along with relative intelligence lol. You rock and roll.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I liked her early music, she as a person has been a bit up and down but will thing I will always love her for is that she was never afraid to do what a man does even in the face of the criticism she got and continues to get for it. Her message has always been “if a man can do it so can i and do it better’.

      • Eleonor says:

        Her music wasn’t always the best. Her videos on the other side were amazing.
        She had to face a lot of crap, she paved the road for today popstars. When she published the SEX book it was powerful, and people never forgave her for being a woman in charge of her body, of her fantasy. For all of this she will always have my respect.

  9. grabbyhands says:

    Dear Madonna –

    Maybe Rebel Heart failed because people thought it sucked, not because songs leaked. Quit equating it to rape. Again.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Yeah that was pretty horrible. I can understand being upset, but she needs to choose her words more carefully, as that can be extremely hurtful to so many people.

    • elimaeby says:

      I cringed at that, too. She couldn’t have used “robbed” or some equivalent?

    • otaku fairy... says:


    • Yup, Me says:

      Yes – she should replace the word “raped” with “violated” in that sentence. Your music leaking was a violation, yes. It was not a sexual assault.

      Separately- if Madonna’s white woman feminism included growth around intersectionality, maybe her music and dance moves wouldn’t seem so stale. She’d still be fresh because she was still learning and evolving.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      And I think Madame X is going to suck too. She’s lost her musical touch.

    • Jessica says:

      She says in the article that she gets to use it as an analogy b/c she was raped when she was 19.

      She is entitled to her feelings. At the same time, it can be very triggering as a survivor to see people use it as an analogy in cases that have no sexual assault component. I just can’t imagine anything else in the human experience that is *like* being raped.

      It’s horrible to be betrayed or taken advantage of or robbed. But it’s not the same as sexual assault.

      I’m not a hater, and I love some of her songs, but this type of shit I find repellent. Find another metaphor, for god’s sake.

  10. CharliePenn says:

    Wow Madonna, having a song leaked to the public is actually NOTHING like rape. Guess what IS alike rape…. rape. That’s it. I hate when people use rape as an analogy.

    Also she obviously chose the wrong people to marry. If you feel that you can’t fully be yourself or that you have to downplay your accomplishments that’s a problem with the partnership you chose, not marriage in general. In a good marriage these issues aren’t there. Take your time and make sure that you can be yourself fully and that you aren’t in any kind of competition with your partner, or else don’t marry that guy!

  11. TK says:

    there’s definitely some type of pressure getting to her or she wouldn’t have done that to her face. Embrace your age just don’t look it? Her message is as confused as her uncanny valley appearance!

    • enike says:

      I mean embrace your age just dont look it is okey
      your age can be embraced mentally, using experience, it doesnt have to mean you have to retire, get fat and dont care about yourself anymore
      she is an artist, she can look however she want
      if people can see only her looks as an evidence she is not embracing her age and not what she is saying, they dont going to age good themselves as they take a shallow stance on it, imho
      live and let live is the best anti-ageing strategy 🙂

  12. serena says:

    I really liked this interview, she’s really interesting and honest here and, while she’s not everybody’s cup of tea, the message in this was positive and real.

  13. Snowslow says:

    Madonna has made a living of appropriating “latino” aesthetics and so many other forms of expression like voguing, including feminism. Objectify yourself is a very convoluted message and a stupid shortcut.
    The day women pop stars will understand that being horny and sexual does not equate with looking patriarchally fuckable (like a virgin) we’ll be closer to something a bit more constructive.
    Also, my country, which I am the first to criticise, and albeit backward, because of a very long dictatorship, is not “medieval”. If you can’t make friends in Portugal I don’t know where you can make friends.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      The day we stop pretending that telling liberal women pop stars (and women in general) that they need to avoid looking fuckable/ turning on men isn’t problematic and an example of patriarchal standards of respectability being appropriated by feminism will be when we’re truly close to something constructive. #SlutWalk4ever

      • Snowslow says:

        I didn’t say they needed to avoid looking fuckable?! I said that women are conditioned to equate being horny with looking desirable for men. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show your t*ts and show your horniness. On the contrary.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        I don’t think any of the women are really sending the message that you have to look desirable to men in order to be horny. For some women, sexual urges and physical appearance are just both parts of the conversation around slut-shaming, gaslighting, and victim-blaming.

      • enike says:

        snowslow, you forget to add SOME women
        some women are conditioned by other women mainly and want to appear a good wife material, by patriarchal standards?
        or some women have low sex drive and dont understand why others would have a high sex-drive and explain it by: it is for men!

        or something, I can be wrong

        I agree with otaku fairy

    • ToiFilles says:

      Amen. I always bristle at that pop star hyper-sexual package dressed up as feminism, because it does absolutely NOTHING to address the never ending social problems of being a woman – the wage gap, for example. If anything, it made things worse for me. When her “Girly Tour” came out, guys in my profession (finance & IT) would react with “Hooray, girl on girl. Here’s your 75-cents-on-the-dollar paycheck. Go buy her CD – dance to her tune when you’re done dancing to ours.”

      • otaku fairy... says:

        It doesn’t deal with the wage gap, but it does deal with the issues around female sexual modesty and misogynistic hate speech. By the way, those douchebags in your workplace treated you was on them and their own unwillingness as adults to change their sexist behavior, not on you and not on Madonna or any other woman for not being modest.

    • Millenial says:

      I agree that it’s odd that we keep treating going to great lengths to be “conventionally attractive” by Western standards as feminism. Looks are a currency in this culture, that’s true, and I get that we have to trade on what we have to survive, but *side eye*

      See also: women treating making money/having money as feminism. Capitalism is pretty anti-thetical to feminism. Lots of our pop starts are guilty of this.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Trying to be attractive doesn’t make someone a feminist or not a feminist. Neither does not doing those things. There are plenty of women who don’t get plastic surgery or are careful to look more ‘respectable’ than the women discussed on sites like this one for example, who treat women and girls like garbage when it comes to all kinds of issues. But women not having to make themselves more sexually modest or less feminine just to not be treated badly is absolutely a feminist issue.

    • Aren says:

      She takes whatever is already popular and exploits it, and has done the same thing over and over again.
      Plus, she sells sex because then most men are okay with her and don’t see her as a real threat.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Most men are absolutely not ok with women actually being anything beyond the classy, modern girl next door type- especially when it also involves her coming for their slurs or challenging what they’ve been socialized to see as morality. Sure, a lot of straight and bi men like to privately look at porn and fantasize about women, but to conflate that with most men being on board with the Madonna’s of the world is to basically deny a lot of misogynistic abuse women and girls experience and witness over this very issue. Men are just as vile as (and a lot of times more vile than) women over this issue, and it’s mostly women saying it’s not okay.

      • ToiFilles says:

        otaku: My issue is not about sexual modesty or conflating it w/ being “classy”. I don’t know your age or gender, but as a woman of a certain age (but younger than Madonna), I’ve seen countless examples of how men leverage a woman’s ambition and success for their own personal gain. Back when Madonna burst onto the scene, she was the “Cool Girl” Gillian Flynn would write about decades later. If you were a fan & agreed w/ her sex-positive stance, there was pressure that assumed you too had the same Sex Drive (or close enough). Men, even those who prefer “classy” women, also happen to prefer those very women to do more so they can kick back & do less. Call them “stargazers” in bed.

        And since you mention porn – no judgement – but do realize that porn is a slippery industry where women (& children) are victimized at a disproportionate rate to men. Also know that men watch porn while sitting in their corporate offices/cubicles leaving their colleagues to pick up the slack / fix sloppy work. And again, that colleague is often a woman.

        Overall, I think women are “not okay” with seeing their sexual marketing gain traction over their other talents. If we had equal representation in the US Government, equal representation in the opportunities afforded to men, maybe we’d be on board (or less exhausted by) whatever Madge is selling.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        “If you were a fan & agreed w/ her sex-positive stance, there was pressure that assumed you too had the same Sex Drive (or close enough).” Ha! That sort of thing is still very much true for us today too, and not just with Madonna, but with just about any woman or group of women. Wanting sex-positive changes in how the culture treats women and girls comes with all kinds of assumptions from men (and others) who see little to no need for those changes to begin with, outside of how it impacts either them or the occasional Girl they think was too ‘Good’ to be treated badly. If anything, that makes this issue more important for women, not less.

        I realize what you said is true not just within the porn industry, but in the entertainment industry and in marginalized religions as well as privileged religions too . The right of human beings to exist in those spaces without being positioned as inferior based on sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexuality is still worth upholding and a feminist issue, as long as these people exist. They’ll likely always exist.

        Plenty of women realize that Madonna and other women presenting themselves differently will not make or break our representation in Us government, fix the wage gap, or increase opportunities available to us anyway.

  14. Beech says:

    Why dows she live in Portugal?

    • Snowslow says:

      Her son David trains (trained? I have a feeling she no longer lives there) with Benfica (football – soccer – team) because he wants to be a professional player down the road.

  15. otaku fairy... says:

    Women are a marginalized group. Not all women are in Madonna’s position of that being the only marginalized group though. A lot of us are from both other marginalized groups and other privileged groups at the same time. Sometimes, this comes with getting crap both from straight western white men AND from members of our other marginalized groups for seeming like we’re centering misogyny just because we have to be firm with people, but we’re allowed to do that. It works the other way too.
    The rape comment was ridiculous. I don’t want to talk over her since rape is something she’s actually experienced, but it seems like she should know better at this point to compare her music being leaked to being abused. I agree with the rest of what she said here though.

    • outoftheshadows says:

      The interviewer noted in the piece that women try not to use that word in a metaphorical way… but it was clear she didn’t make that point to Madonna. She was too intimidated to say a number of things (I just finished reading the whole article on NYT before I came here).

      Your point is obviously correct, but I wonder how many people there are who refrain from having difficult conversations with her because they see her as powerful. That was a missed opportunity for her to learn. And she seems (otherwise) to be thoughtful and confident enough to accept someone else’s perspective.

      I’m always interested in what you have to say and I expected to hear from you on this article. I almost never post but I appreciate your perspective (especially on the virtues of accepting imperfect allies, as I consider myself imperfect and try not to hold anyone to a standard of perfection.)

    • outoftheshadows says:

      The interviewer noted in the piece that women try not to use that word in a metaphorical way… but it was clear she didn’t make that point to Madonna. She was too intimidated to say a number of things (I just finished reading the whole article on NYT before I came here).

      Your point is obviously correct, but I wonder how many people there are who refrain from having difficult conversations with her because they see her as powerful. That was a missed opportunity for her to learn. And she seems (otherwise) to be thoughtful and confident enough to accept someone else’s perspective.

      I’m always interested in what you have to say and I expected to hear from you on this article. I almost never post but I appreciate your perspective (especially on the virtues of accepting imperfect allies, as I consider myself imperfect and try not to hold anyone to a standard of perfection.)

  16. Brunswickstoval says:

    Interestingly she’s distanced herself from the interview on her latest Instagram post.

    • crass says:

      saw that – yikes! she will never learn. as @cindy posted below – she’s just all about madonna.

  17. Cindy says:

    I don’t think Madonna’s a feminist. She’s a Madonnist. She claims to speak about women’s oppression when she’s just talking about her own. Case in point – comparing your songs being leaked to rape. Yeah, no. Not a feminist thing to say AT ALL.

  18. Ann says:

    Funny that she thinks her “sexuality” wasn’t her only weapon. Guess what? It was!!!! Now that men no longer consider her desirable, her career is basically over. So much for “on her own terms”. What really irks me is that she makes herself out to be some sort of “pioneer”. There were more rebellious, challenging and brave women decades and decades before her.

    • Aren says:

      Cindy Lauper was way more rebellious and challenging, Also, Cindy never used sex to sell her image or her music.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Good for Cindy. Still, if other women want to make sexuality and not having to be classy a part of their image and how they sell their work, good for them too.

      • enike says:

        girls wanna have fun 🙂

        I love Cindy and I love Madonna
        it was quite something revolutional in that age
        now with the tinder and porn generation, where everything is free and overboard, its hard sometimes to navigate and compare it with Madonna´s rebellious younger years, the social context has changed so much, and I think Cindy and Madonna played some part in it

        nowadays is getting a bit to another extreme (at least in free countries), but it will eventually balance out, lots of achievements already
        the youngers can be confused thou, its a taff world

    • buensenso says:

      she did very risky stuff during her career. she was bold. and had a big influence on culture, fashion,etc. I actually don’t think men were ever really into madonna and that they found her desirable. I think she was always very different, freaky…no britney spears that actually appeals to men. madonna’s fans were mainly lgbt people and women. also, I don’t think she lost popularity because men don’t like her anymore. women are hating on her big time. which can be seen on this site.

      • Naddie says:

        I liked how you compare Britney’s persona with Madonna’s, and I also agree. I was just a kid in the Blond ambition era, so I can’t tell how she was seen by men, but what I could get as I grew up is that she was nothing like the amount of “brainless blonde” clones that had Britney as their main. I don’t like Madonna but she always seemed sexually authentic, like Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

      • WTW says:

        I agree @buensenso. The only men I’ve ever known who’ve liked her have been gay. I remember men liking her contemporaries, like Janet Jackson (especially when Janet did the Love Will Never Do Without You video or Rolling Stone topless), I don’t remember men finding Madonna sexually attractive, probably because she was too threatening for them. I do think the way she used her sexuality challenged social norms. As a Christian “good girl” who waited for marriage to have sex, I certainly appreciate her bold ownership over her sexuality.

  19. Mumbles says:

    Madonna’s interviews are almost always interesting. Back in the late 1980s she was interviewed by Carrie Fisher for Rolling Stone, and Fisher said what struck her was how Madonna would listen to the question, and give it some thought, and then answer it. This sounds like no big deal, but so often these celebrities are programmed to give canned, dull answers vetted by PR people (think of any “interview” with Taylor Swift). And she lets herself be interviewed by smart people. She did an interview with Roxane Gay in Elle last year that was also interesting.

  20. Clara says:

    Don’t get me started with the whole Madonna in Portugal shit, especially after her concerts in Lisbon sold out within minutes, last week. This was always her attitude towards Portugal, a bit demeaning, a bit superior, and we sure felt it and called her out (comedians love it, that’s for sure).

    After many uncomfortable moments, nothing ever too serious that we know of, she decided to leave after the mayor of Sintra (a very picturesque town, 30 minutes from Lisbon) didn’t allow shooting a videoclip inside a centuries old palace. She wanted a horse inside the palace and he refused. She got mad and said it was the last straw.

    Still, what transpired to the public is that while she was in Portugal she was inspired to create her latest album, she collaborated with amazing artists, old and new, and she frequented the best spots in the city. She got along with models, soccer players, performance artists. Lisbon is a vibrant, musical, inspirational, sunny, multilingual, accepting city. We are a bit uneven between the city and the smaller towns. But Portugal had 40 years of dictatorship, and since 1974 we’ve been rebuilding; today we have same sex marriage, adoption and co-adoption by same sex couples; abortion has been decriminalized since 2007. We are a bit closed off, I’d agree, but mostly peaceful and definitely not medieval; when the horse incident happened, I feel like we kinda even forgot she lived here.

    The plumber shit, well, we all deal with those, protected lady, so don’t come at me with intersectional feminism and needing friends when your cleaning lady is probably black, from the suburbs, and has to hold three jobs. I’m sure she has plenty of time for cocktails.

    • PleaseAndThankYou says:


      Honestly, what does that last bit even mean? What is your random, bizarrely racial supposition about… Madonna’s “cleaning lady” working three jobs and not having time for cocktails about? Are you saying that Madonna shouldn’t… have… friends…? Because… ? What? Look, I genuinely do not understand what you are trying to say, and everyone should have friends, that’s ridiculous, even your imagined “cleaning lady” would have friends… Have you ever worked three jobs? Your personal life doesn’t cease to exist. Are you actually saying that Madonna should have no friends? Because she’s not perfect? Are you perfect? When, as others have brought up, we as women cannot afford to “cancel” others for being imperfect.

      I wouldn’t include “Portugal decriminalized abortion all the way back in 2007!” as an example of how not-medieval Portugal is. Maybe just say, abortion is legal. (And, of course, it’s not medieval.)

  21. FHMom says:

    Madonna is and always will be all about Madonna. I can’t take anything she says seriously.

  22. JennyJenny says:

    I find her answer about aging quite hypocritical.

    She appears to be doing everything she can to fight that aging process. One only needs to look at all the work she has had done to her face to realize that.
    And that’s OK; if I could afford it, I would do everything I could as well.

    But don’t tell us “not to be influenced by society and just live life”.

    • enike says:

      maybe she is thinking about ageing spiritually? just live life (live and let live)
      fighting the physical signs of ageing can be another question, I think we should separate it maybe?
      i am not sure

  23. Ameara says:

    The way she talks about Portugal really pissed me off. She’s so entitled. Medival? She’s out of her mind!

  24. Stella Alpina says:

    Why should we support her? Madonna has never supported any other woman except herself.

    What’s funny is how some people eat this crap up.

    Madonna is often clever in answering questions. Whether it’s all her creation or in collaboration with her PR people, she’s been saying “the right things” in interviews since she became famous. She tells people what they want to hear, but they’re just words. Because, as the old saying goes: “actions speak louder than. . .” You know the rest.

    She’s never supported other women. Hitching yourself to younger pop acts to appear cool to the kids doesn’t count. She has talked smack about women she viewed as competition, who took focus away from her: Mariah Carey, Sharon Stone (for Basic Instinct), Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga. Oh, and this tiresome complaint about “Born This Way” ripping off “Express Yourself” is weak, considering that “Express Yourself” ripped off part of “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers. A consistently reductivist entertainer complaining about another entertainer being reductive — hypocritical much?

    She mocked Janet Jackson when she was asked about her own upcoming Super Bowl halftime show: “You don’t have to show nipples to be interesting and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting edge if you do, right?” This, coming from a woman who’s shown far more and far more frequently, thinking she was being cutting edge. Remember her Sex book?

    I remember a magazine interview in the ’90s in which Madonna was asked if she would ever get plastic surgery as she aged. She answered, “no”, and said that what is really important is who you are inside and your character brings a lot more to the table than looks and blah blah blah. Pleasant words that are empty of meaning in light of her pattern of behavior.

    Not much has changed. Like Taylor Swift, she hides behind feminism as a shield against criticism. Madonna the poseur is now trotting out this feminist persona, the latest in a long line of personas used and discarded over the years. And we can thank Madonna for later generations of pop stars who are heavy on image and light on talent.

    On Instagram, she posted: “DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY woven deep into the fabric of Society. I will never stop fighting to eradicate it.” She’s never fought it because she benefited greatly from it. She used her sexuality to manipulate men in power. She slept with the right people to advance herself. She once said, “I always thought of losing my virginity as a career move.” It’s not revolutionary or subversive — women have been doing this for ages. But others get criticized while Madonna is a trailblazing rebel. Sure, Jan.

    RME at the rape metaphor. You’d think she would know better. She used it TWICE. She later said that the NYT journalist who conducted the above interview “chose to focus on trivial and superficial matters. . . I’m sorry I spent 5 minutes with her. It makes me feel raped.”

    Sorry she didn’t kiss your ass, Madge.

    Big THANK YOU to the other commenters who mentioned her peak white feminism and lack of intersectionality. Her actions belie her words, so the stuff coming out her mouth is just lip service. But I never expected much from a career narcissist.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      Thank you! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      I had no idea Madonna said that about Janet Jackson, and it definitely lowers my opinion of her. However, if talking smack about any woman (because at least one of the examples you mentioned was definitely just negative talk, and nowhere near as bad as that statement about Janet. I’ll have to look up the others some other time) is all it takes to get that card revoked, you’ve kind of put yourself in the same boat with that misogynistic and whorephobic statement in the fourth-to-last paragraph. SWERFs can be blasted right into the sun with Piers Morgan, as far as I’m concerned.

      • Stella Alpina says:

        Otaku, you’re making quite an assumption here. I’m not whorephobic. I think prostitution/escorting should be legalized and regulated. Those men and women are providing a service.

        There’s a marked difference between Madonna and prostitutes. Madonna climbed to where she is by manipulating people (through some reputed surface charm and through sex) and ditching them when she got what she wanted. With prostitutes, it’s a business transaction understood by both parties. With Madonna, it’s seducing people as a tool, and the people she ditched admitted in retrospect that they felt used and thought she had cared for them.

        Camille Barbone, one of Madonna’s first managers and an openly gay woman, said as much. Madonna also made out with Camille’s nephew, who was 15-years-old, right in front of Camille. Yes, Madonna is an ephebophile.

        She got away with that shit because there was no internet and social media then to publicize her behavior. I remember a music magazine interviewed some friends of hers. They talked about accompanying her on limousine rides through the city (New York?) and witnessed her picking up underaged Latino boys so she could mess around with them in said limo.

        You think this is some arbitrary cancellation of her over a few problematic things she’s done? Nope. My thorough dislike of Madonna evolved over DECADES. I was once a fan of hers as a teenager and read everything I could about her. That reading led me to stories that weren’t puff pieces and ultimately to a truer representation of who she is: her narcissism, her plagiarism (she’s been successfully sued more than any other singer of her generation over copyright infringement), her greed (shilling cancer-curing Kabbalah water), her hypocrisy, her self-aggrandizement, and yeah, her sexual behavior with teenage boys.

        So pardon me if I criticize her self-serving feminist pose. Pardon me if I remind others that she’s always had a punch down/kiss up mentality. It’s hardly misogynistic to criticize a woman who treated others like crap. Her success in the music industry doesn’t negate her history.

        And how little she’s changed. Unlike her fans, I’m not surprised at all by her immature behavior as an older woman. I can’t even say I’m disappointed. She never grew up and finally people are seeing it.

      • Otaku fairy... says:

        Except you discriminated by specifically mentioning a woman’s using sexuality and who she was with to get ahead- as well as the fact that she fantasized about selling her virginity – as a reason for why she can’t fight against patriarchy. That is whorephobic and misogynistic, as well as dragging up and continuing to penalize a woman and exclude her from a human rights movement for messy but CONSENSUAL sex she had not just years, but DECADES ago. Another thing she and Angelina have in common when it comes to how they’re treated. I don’t really care about anyone’s bad breakups from the 80s either.
        What does matter, though, is whether or not you’re right about her behaviors with underage boys. I will look into those stories. So far though, I am a little suspicious because it’s other people whom she didn’t end things on good terms with saying it as opposed to men saying she was sexual toward them while underage.

    • Naddie says:

      I actually thankyou for all of this because honestly, I don’t know thaaat much about Madonna and it’s easy for me to agree with her fans say even though I dislike her (but love her 90s/early 2000s songs).

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      If anyone is old enough to remember Madonna’s movie “Truth or Dare,” then you would know Madonna LAUGHED upon hearing that her make-up artist was drugged and sodomized. Then, without knowing what actually happened, Madonna blamed the victim by concluding “she must have told them she was touring with ME and staying at the Ritz-Carlton!”

  25. Mrs. Smith says:

    I think most are missing the point of this interview. Of course Madonna is all about Madonna, but her hindsight gives me a real glimpse into her inspiration as an artist and why/how she presented herself like she did. Maybe it’s my age—I was a kid when Like Virgin was released. I loved the power of her female voice and POV, but didn’t understand it at the time. Her later releases also signified something I couldn’t define, but I appreciated it because she wasn’t taking any shit from anyone. How could I achieve this too? I felt steamrolled in so many ways—at work, at school, in my early career. Perhaps it was obvious to some readers, but this interview was an eye opener to hear her finally describe her specific goals/strategies/tactics for empowerment. Feeling powerful always felt natural to me, but then growing up I had to bend myself to “how it is” for women. I appreciate what she’s done, despite her cosmetic surgery or decline in musical relevance. She certainly is out of touch when it comes to comparing leaked songs to being rape, no doubt. As a whole, I found the interview to be profound because I was finally able to understand her and what she was trying to say all this time. Thanks Kaiser for calling it to attention!

  26. Lens horne says:

    She is a singer. Not a philosopher.who cares?