Thursday, April 7, 2016

Supplemental Post #2: Madonna and Girl Power

My first exposure to Madonna was through her fashion line, Material Girl, which I was obsessed with in high school. I thought I was really edgy for wearing girly-punky clothes and spikes around my neck. I knew she was a large cultural icon, but until I watched the documentary screened in class, I had no idea how much of a trendsetter she truly was.

I enjoyed the documentary because it seemed to showcase all sides of Madonna: the good, the bad, the ugly, and most importantly, the diva-esque behavior. In relating this film to contemporary documentaries about stars and their fame, such as Demi Lovato's "Unbroken" and Katy Perry's "Part of Me," Madonna's film seemed much more honest. Her reputation as being a diva and difficult to please was highlighted, and even painted in a comical light in some instances, whereas both Lovato and Perry's films seemed to have a more serious agenda and clear bias (in aiming to elicit sympathy for the star and paint the star as more human). 

Madonna seemed to embrace fame in some respects, such as when she warmly greeted her dancers' parents and families, or when she talked about her fans. But she seemed more self-centered, in a good way. When the police in Canada threatened to arrest her unless she made her show choreography less provocative, she said she would rather cancel the show than compromise her artistic integrity. While some may think this statement is overly diva-ish or even bitchy, I really respect her for standing up for her music. Madonna didn't let anyone push her around, and if anything, women in the 80s/90s/2000s definitely needed more role models that were assertive in a clearly patriarchal society. I think Madonna defines pre-millennial GIRL POWER. 

It's also interesting to think about how Madonna used her very overt sexuality to define her image. Her gyrating dance moves were considered very raunchy for the time, but because she owned it, she made it part of her image. Many other female pop-stars are sexy too, but they seem to be sexy in a way that was forced upon them (perhaps to become more marketable), whereas Madonna seemed to manipulate her sexuality to express her artistry (rather than appeal to male suitors). In fact, males are rarely mentioned or shown in the film. Madonna is painted as a strong, independent woman who was a trendsetter for pop music and female celebrities to come. 

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