Madonna: ‘I think Instagram is made to make you feel bad… it runs people’s lives’

Madonna arriving at JFK Airport

To promote her new album (Madame X), Madonna gave an interview to The Dan Wootton Interview podcast. Wootton is one of The Sun’s big gossip columnists and I’m a little bit surprised Madonna would grant an interview to his podcast, but here we are. I actually think Madonna is trying to change up her promotion for this album, and maybe try some new stuff. From the excerpts, it doesn’t look like Madonna is saying anything huge or new, but it’s still interesting. Some highlights:

Being criticized by feminists: “I refuse to bend a knee to convention and what society expects of me as a woman.”

On social media: “You get caught up in comparing yourself to others. I think Instagram is made to make you feel bad. People are really a slave to winning people’s approvals… I was lucky enough to have a life as an artist before the phone and Instagram and social media because I did have that time to develop as an artist and a human without feeling the pressure of judgment of other people or comparing myself to other people.” The social media culture “runs people’s lives” and, as a result, it’s now harder for stars to “stick to your guns and be who you are… The world needs that. We need voices that are unique, we need inspiration. And that’s what people don’t understand — I want our other ­artists to think outside the box.”

On Lourdes: “So I say to my daughter, ‘You weren’t put on this earth to be me, you were put on this earth to be you. You be you. And use your platform and who you are to be a good role model for other young women your age. Stop being so consumed with the way you look or how people are going to compare you to me.’”

On her unconventional family: “People are becoming more and more accepting of unconventional lifestyles, unconventional relationships, marriages, families. And I fit into that category too. I have six children, four of them are adopted and I’m not married. I continue to defy convention in terms of having an unconventional family.”

[From The Sun]

Her comments on social media track with what people 40 years younger say too, which will probably make Madonna super-happy. I’ve said this before, but I used to roll my eyes at the youths complaining about social media and how judged they feel and how it affects their lives. I say that as an Xennial, because I remember a time without social media and I can see how everything has changed for everybody because of Instagram Culture and how Facebook Nazis basically destroyed America. I do wonder if there’s any going back though – will kids ever be able to just BE kids without having to perform on Instagram or without it becoming a tweet-thread or whatever? I think that’s what Madonna is talking about too – find your own space, grow at your own pace, become an artist or a well-rounded person on your own, without doing it for the ‘gram.

Madonna arriving at JFK Airport

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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51 Responses to “Madonna: ‘I think Instagram is made to make you feel bad… it runs people’s lives’”

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  1. Camille says:

    Wow she’s really going to keep throwing Lourdes under the bus huh.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      That’s a whole lotta projection going on on her part. HFS.

    • maisie says:

      Sexual jealousy. She’s deeply envious of her daughter’s youth and beauty.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      “Stop being so consumed with the way you look or how people are going to compare you to me.’ — wow, I feel sorry for any daughter who has a mother like that.

  2. Snowflake says:

    I don’t remember seeing pictures of Madonna when she was pregnant. I wonder if she hid out cause she didn’t like the way she looked? I googled and i don’t see any pics of her when she was pregnant.

    • Harla says:

      That weird, I just googled “photos of pregnant madonna” and got loads of pictures.

      • Snowflake says:

        Oh ok, i did it that way and you are right. i guess mentally i didn’t remember pics of her pregnant. I googled madonna and then i clicked on lourdes. silly me

  3. Seraphina says:

    I have to agree. FB and social media has ruined it for our youth. But so has this advanced technology. Thank GOD there weren’t iPhones around when I was young and stupid. Thank GOD no one could post pics of us doing young dumb kid stuff. Now we just get together and re tell stories and laugh.

    And yeah, I’ve read articles by psychologist who say Instagram and FB have really made people feel bad because most people post happy versions of life. They portray it they say they want and people at home measure themselves against that. I’ve recently been added to a mom group in our area and they are real asking advice about real things: divorce, custody battles, losing jobs, not getting along with in laws and cranky kids. And you know what? It is helping a lot of women because they can relate. It’s real

    • Eleonor says:

      Same here, I don’t know If I would have survived to my teen years, and THANK GOD there were no social around during my wild 20’s.
      Social media can be a great plateform, I have a collaboration with a feminist page, we have our group, we decide what to publish, campaining etc. etc. but in my teen years? Jeez…

      • lisa says:

        I’m glad I didn’t have to live that way. It makes a big difference in how you go through life. But I see women/men my age that have quickly picked up that trend. They act like teenagers with some of the things they post and their obsession with their phones and talking random pics and posting them on IG.

      • Mel M says:

        @Lisa-THIS EXACTLY! My parents and in laws are way more into and obsessed with social media then I am. They will spend hours scrolling on FB and posting/reposting BS. I am rarely on FB and the only reason I still have an acct is because of being in groups for my daughter that has special needs, she had a very rare syndrome so no one around my area to connect with. If it wasn’t for that group I would’ve deleted it a long time ago because I hate all the ads and the crap people post, especially because my entire family is pro trump. It gets me so rage-y and I have enough going on in my real life to get upset over them.

    • BeanieBean says:

      But we did have cameras when we were young & stupid. I have lots of photos from my freshman year at college of my friends & I doing stupid things. We all have these photos, we just didn’t share with the entire world. We could now, of course, if so motivated. Eh, every generation has its problems, every generation thinks its problems are worse than earlier generations’, every generation thinks things were better when they were young (they weren’t, we were just kids unaware of the adult world), and so on.

      • Seraphina says:

        @BeanieBean, I can see why you would say that and there is a grain of truth to that but I much prefer my years of no cellphones and/or social media to the what is going on today.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      “because most people post happy versions of life” — and also photoshopped versions (Madonna and other celebrities, I’m looking in your direction).

    • Fancyamazon says:

      I have to agree with you. I was a head-banger in the 80’s. I am thankful every day that there wasn’t an instagram, facebook, or even a myspace to chronicle all of my vast mistakes. I am sort of sad for my granddaughter that she will grow up with all of this pressure. We had pressure too, but we could hide from it if we wanted to. Youth these days have almost no way to escape. I told her that one of her youtube heroes (I can’t remember her name but she is a kpop star- My granddaughter watches her for her slime and “life-hacks” youtube videos) filtered her look on the videos, and she was disappointed . It’s kind of depressing.

  4. Wilma says:

    I’m never sure. I really enjoy instagram. I follow a lot of people who have the same hobby as I have and I find it really relaxing to scroll for half an hour and it’s really cool to get feedback from others. I don’t follow people who have very curated photos and my own photos aren’t elaborately staged and so it’s fun and seeing what others do is stimulating and feels achievable. I never would have been able to be part of my community like this before social media. I do think we have to educate kids. There have been a lot of articles that show the truth of very curated instagram photos and maybe we can teach kids how to read through the photos and learn to identify the mechanisms behind them.

    • launicaangelina says:

      I agree with. I have mixed feelings about social media. I prefer Instagram and Twitter much more than Facebook. I’m hardly on there, but check in since half my family is in Mexico, and Facebook allows me to see how they are. Twitter and Instagram allow me to follow more of my interests (celebs, celeb gossip, art, etc.) I do not follow carefully curated accounts and influencers.

    • Bella Bella says:

      I love Instagram. I think of it mainly as graduate school for art history and women’s studies, fabulous access to contemporary art by women and people of color. I’ve learned so much about women artists over history that aren’t necessarily part of the “canon.” There are many talented people out there who make inspiring work. Photographers, artists, dancers. For me, IG is a culture feast. I’ve met wonderful kind people all over the world.

      I’ve never been on Facebook and refuse to ever join.

      And I am probably on the old end of the age spectrum of commenters here.

      • Wilma says:

        Yes, instagram is the place where I read more stories from people that don’t get to be heard in the mainstream. It has really openened my world to the experiences and knowledge f people I never would have met offline in my very white, cis, able bodied part of the world.

    • Robinda says:

      I’m an Instagram fan, as well. Animals, National Geographic type stuff, pages related to sports I’m involved in. I’m not looking to follow “influencers”, so maybe I just never see the downside. (I’ve also reached an age where I don’t care what anyone thinks, so that probably helps.)

  5. Dazed and confused says:

    She’s so right about social media. I have been teaching middle school for 15 years and I have seen a huge change in the levels of anxiety and depression. They are skyrocketing. Ditto bullying and meanness. Middle School is already filled with those things. Now, though, it’s all out in the world 24/7/365. Developmentally, it’s too much.

    • Gina says:

      I also recently read how the suicide rate is way upon with this age group too. So scary and so sad.
      I too am so thankful I didn’t grow up in this social media age.

      Kaiser is right, there is no going back. I think there has to be some kind of balance that has to be enforced by adults around these young and impressionable kids.
      In January I took a month long Instagram break. I found I was much more relaxed and I definitely think it was due to my social media break.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        I too am thankful I didn’t grow up in the social media age – it was hard enough for me as it was (was bullied throughout school).

      • Seraphina says:

        @DU, me too. Bullied through out elementary and middle school because my parents are immigrants. Sucked to deal with ignorant and stupid people.

      • Dazed and confused says:

        Digital Unicorn & Seraphina, I’m so sorry you were bullied. Children can be so cruel. Bullying has always been something we guard against from middle schoolers, but now it happens all day and night.. You used to get a break when you went home. Plus, it’s very hard to tell kids it’s not OK to say horrible things when they have the Orange Molester in Chief bullying and being horrible all over social media. I still make that my expectation. It’s just sad to say, “hold yourself to a higher standard than the individual holding the highest office in the country.”

        We can’t go back, but I don’t think it’s necessary for children and teenagers to have smartphones or social media. It’s hard enough for adults to handle. Developing children do not have the necessary tools to avoid the pitfalls. I understand the convenience of having the ability to contact your child, but a basic flip phone can do that. We had more students who have wanted to commit suicide in the past 3 years then in all the prior years put together. It’s heartbreaking.

        I am also so happy that my youth is not out in the world for anyone to see. Those years are crucial for development and doing ridiculous things or not being the best version of yourself is a key component of growing up. How horrible to have it scrutinized to such a degree.

      • Some chick says:

        @Dazed: Not all of us got a break at home.

        But, it’s very true that I’m also super relieved that none of it ended up on the internets. I foolishly protected my abusers for years, in part to avoid the awful public humiliation that would have come down on me, had it gotten out.

        And now, decades later, the victims still get the blame.

        How can we fix this dominator culture?!

  6. minx says:

    Well, she’s correct in a lot of the things she says.

  7. FHMom says:

    She isn’t wrong about social media. However, if she were 30 instead of 60, she’d be the queen of Insta. She sounds bitter because she couldn’t use it to promote herself when she was younger and had a hot career. I also have to laugh when she mentions her ‘unconventional’ family. Yes, Madonna, you are still trendy. I mean, I like her, but her need to be relevant is exhausting and cringy.

    • Monicack says:

      Because that whole music career thing really fizzled out for her in her 30s.

      • FHMom says:

        No. Ray of Light was really good. It’s my favorite cd of hers, and I was in college when she broke out. Im trying to say that social media sells youth and beauty. Influencers aren’t 60 or even 40. The youth of today aren’t interested in how she looks in her bra. If she were younger she would have benefitted from social media as much as she benefited from her music videos. She can’t sell her image like she coukd when she was younger.

    • Anne Call says:

      She should look at Diane Keaton’s IG account. Funny, beautiful and heartfelt. You can be older and use social media wisely, I think that Madonna is just having a really hard time with getting older.

    • skiff says:

      Not to be a contrarian, but the King of Twitter is Donald Trump and he’s a crabby old fart among other things. Age isn’t necessarily a disqualification for social media. Granted you might not be the average influencer at 70, but you can be President apparently. I think she has a point, but like others on here not sure how you go back from this point though.

  8. Patty says:

    People do realize that you don’t have to have Facebook or Instagram. It’s optional not required. Parents need to know their own kids and if they recognize that their kids can’t handle social media – don’t let them have any accounts. Make them wait until they are 18/19 or off at college.

  9. Talie says:

    Lourdes must be on her last nerve…she has been reading her for filth this entire press tour!

  10. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Yeah, Insta has really destroyed me. I mean, all those cute dogs. Sheesh, my life is a shambles.

    • snazzy says:

      hahah ya. I use Insta to see what friends are up to, look at puppies and nature pics. National Geographic and BBC travel have such nice pics.

  11. Elian says:

    Two of my cousins’ kids just graduated high school and are off to college/life in the fall. Neither of these children were allowed smart phones or social media accounts (they had burner flip phones) They are completely normal well adjusted happy kids – they have friends – one was Homecoming Queen for Pete’s sake 😂 it’s also not as if they are total Luddites who don’t know how these things work; now that they’re turning 18 if they want a smartphone they can get a job and buy one, or start a social media account having watched their peers & understanding what mistakes NOT to make. It’s totally unnecessary for kids to have smartphones and social media. Mine are a lot younger but they have Relays

    • Dazed and confused says:

      This this this!!! I wish more parents did this. From teachers everywhere — thank you to you AND your cousin.

  12. Adrien says:

    Instagram can be fun if you avoid following vapid people. I just follow pet / pet rescue accounts like benben, smush, bethstern and other animal related accounts. FB is for the olds and conspiracy theorists . I just checked my FB a night ago and the only ones left active is my Auntie who loves to share positive quotes and an old classmate who posts money matters tips which is funny because he himself is not financially stable.

  13. Other Renee says:

    I occasionally post cute pics of my dogs on Instagram. I look at it maybe once a week. I have always thought that there is nothing more boring than looking at other people’s photos. I just do not see the attraction of seeing their smiling faces at some exotic location. (“See! We are here and you’re NOT haha!”) (Yeah, people probably think the same thing about my dogs, but no one has to look at them I they don’t want to.)

    The pic of the exotic location WITHOUT people in it I can understand and find interesting. But no one does that on Instagram. So for me, it’s a pass.

    • Naddie says:

      Same! Ever since the ancient times of orkut I’ve been forgetting to check people’s pictures. It just doesn’t interest me at all, no matter where or how they might be. I loved to read the interests of people, so you can imagine my disappointment when someone had their account loaded with pictures and zero information about personality and stuff.

  14. Bunny says:

    Instagram is for photos of cats, puppies, and food.

    Meanwhile: “Stop being so consumed with the way you look or how people are going to compare you to me” said Madonna, who repeatedly hides her hands and eyes to avoid showing that she’s aging.

    • Jaded says:

      Yup. She’s the world’s biggest hypocrite and I think she’s actually jealous of Lourdes’s youth, beauty and, from what I can see, her maturity and composure. You don’t see her falling drunk out of nightclubs or crashing cars or bloviating about herself in the media.

      • Lady D says:

        She’s reached 21 with no drama, no bad habits (aside from smoking), and no police record. She’s in her 3rd year of university and seems to be doing great. I’ve never got the impression that she compared herself to her mother or was in competition with her. I don’t know her of course, but she seems pretty level-headed. I think you’re right about Madonna being jealous.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s it. Madonna has not come to terms with the aging process. Aging if frequently difficult for women who made their looks central to their identity, and for Madonna, it was central to her art & livelihood.

  15. Ally says:

    She was desperate to be famous, lived her whole adult life in the public eye, and hired a documentary crew to follow her around for a year or more. I vividly remember that scene of Warren Beatty sarcastically saying to her:

    “There’s nothing to say off camera. Why would you say something if it’s off camera? What point is there existing?”

    With social media, new more interesting celebrities crop up every week. It’s the dilution of the attention on her that she’s mad about.

    That said, for the normies, curating a social media image is a soul-sucking waste of time and life.

  16. Dark and Stormy says:

    Hmmmm didn’t Madonna recently say that Lourdes has more talent but less ambition than her? I think when Madonna says don’t be afraid of what others think of you, it’s because Lourdes is following convention and studiousness over ambition and narcissism. Madonna has missed that her daughter is in fact breaking from current societal norms of the social media generation.

  17. sassafras says:

    Y’all aren’t wrong and she’s not wrong.
    Social media will not exist the way it does today in five years. There are more and more people opting out and especially the teens/ twenties don’t want any part of Facebook. Once IG fully becomes “We’ll sell you stuff” or “pics of puppies, crafts and food” it too becomes irrelevant pablum.
    I used to defend Facebook loudly, because how cool to reconnect with friends and family around the globe! But after what’s come out about the Russians, elections, fake news and Facebook’s manipulations to keep you on the site, I have chosen to significantly reduce my time there. It’s not that it’s “bad for my life” it’s bad for our culture and political system. I firmly believe that Facebook caused DJT. And that’s pretty evil.

  18. Kny says:

    IG is fine if you are not looking for people to blow smoke up your butt or comparing yourself to influencers who pretend to lead more opulent lives than they really do. I follow so many animals and sometimes communicate with their owners (as they do about my dog). It’s all positive.

  19. ME says:

    Telling her daughter to not be obsessed with her looks…yet Madonna does just that doesn’t she?