Madonna’s Legacy

madonnna Madonna is a woman we shall be talking about years from now. One doesn’t have to be a fan to admit that. This formidable woman has been making records and headlines for 3 decades, a virtually unmatched feat in our here today gone tomorrow fame culture. But what is her legacy? She greatly divides opinion. Ask any small group and you will get strongly opposing views. Β 

Sex

One reason clearly is her pushing sexual boundaries. Is it because we are so used to not allowing women to do what they wish with their own sexuality that so many find her unpalatable? Is the type of quote in the image above all she will be remembered for? Β 

And What About Her Artistry?

Is it buried under the public face-eating (Drake), buttock showing, (exposing her buttocks whilst on the red carpet) she is doing today?

If this were a Paul McCartney legacy article we’d be talking about ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Blackbird,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ etc. Instead, here we are, talking about Madonna’s ass…amongst other sex related things. So, is this her fault …or mine?

Today, nearly 30 years after she started grabbing headlines (and other bits) it seems that most female singers must wear some sort of basque and fishnets along with their microphone or they are not considered marketable.

It would seem that every famous woman has to stand on the red carpet with front boob, side boob or under boob (or more) exposed or they are not worthy of next day headlines. Remember our Rhianna piece? Is this considered freedom now? Women in other countries are fighting for the right not to be casually raped and our stars are using their headline grabbing power to prioritize ‘freeing the nipple?’

Stepford Wives?

Are the men still driving this bus or have the women become a weird retrograde version of a Stepford Wife – i.e they think they are acting on their own volition when in fact they have simply swallowed the misogynist Kool Aid by the bucket load.

Have they in fact been so well trained to bark, disrobe and roll over on command, all the while thinking they are being fiercely independent, original and shocking? Let’s face it, famous females today don’t dress for a typical woman’s fantasy, but a mans. It is men who historically have championed the idea of a submissive, easy woman and this is now the style choice of many female artists. Basically, a whore. But perhaps I’ve missed the point. It happens.

SCHOOL ME!

Let us not under estimate what this phenomenal powerhouse has achieved, both in her private life and publicly, (dismissing women’s achievements also happens a lot!) – How many men could singly raise that many kids, maintain a 3 decade career and stay sane? – But,

What do YOU think is Madonna’s legacy?

Is she damaging it or doing juuuust fine thank you?

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73 comments

  1. Madonna is beyond phenomenal. Her rebel heart tour is truly incredible and I love how she shows her vulnerability. The more I listen to her album the more I enjoy it.

    The media was so horrible to her and going to far to call her a bad mother yet when her son was in Guy’s care he wasn’t going to school and caught smoking pot and drinking booze yet nothing was said about Guy’s poor parenting. So one sided. It’s amazing Madonna has survived 32 years in this industry and been called every horrible thing possible. Yet she reigns supreme with over 520 million records sold and many many more achievements. Madonna is a fantastic Mother, performer, singer and dancer and yes she has a right to be all of the above. Anyone who has seen Madonna live should know how incredible she is. I wish that she would get more praise and lest negativity. Is she provocative hell yes but that’s why she is so successful she pushes the boundaries and go’s against the so called normal. I admire her and hope she continues on. She is better than most of the crap that’s coming out. Madonna has earnt respect. Has she got an ego yes but how else would she be where she is without it. The is a whole other side to her though. I truly think she is a humble person especially since having children. Madonna deserves to title of Queen of Pop but she is so much more than that. If only people would think before the speak. They assume Madonna isn’t human and Joan of Arc is one of my favourite songs.

    1. As friends of people who know /knew Madonna I’m not sure ‘humble’ would be a word used in the same sentence as her, but I agree with the rest. She wouldn’t get half as much stick if she were male. No one has a go at a man of nearly 70 still using the name ‘Iggy Pop’ and constantly seen without his top (or bottoms sometimes) on.

  2. I think she has the same legacy as MJ, pop artists of today emphasis on women. Her legacy goes beyond music as she touched a lot; Music and pop wise, she’s the Queen of Reinvention (sorry to Cher but Madge is the most exciting reinventionist ever equal to that of Bjork’s or even more), she and Janet Jackson we’re one of the pioneers to use wireless mics in performing, she also changed MTV as like MJ did, she re-introduced disco in the 80s, she popularized voguing and Electronica in the 90s to the mainstream audience, maintained her popularity in the 2000s, one of the few musicians who gained recognition in acting (Remember Evita?), Her Blonde Ambition tour is one of the most influential tours ever and most artists try to imitate today. Oh yeah forgot to mention she’s the best selling female tour artist ever( and her shows doesn’t even get beyond 100). She used sex (doesn’t all artists use it?) and one of the first female artists to have total control of their album. Marketing wise, she’s one of the best businesswoman who ever lived. She knows how to sell concept and the pop culture itself. If you’re going to see her recent album Rebel Heart, she focuses more on the critics reception rather than mainstream audience without losing herself. She knows the album is still going to sell however she wants to shut her critics over the 30 years she’s not being taken serious of.

    She’s influential actually, people just need to thank credit along with other popstars (Hello Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake, One Direction, to name a few from a hundreds or maybe thousands of artists who don’t credit Madonna so much like how they credit MJ.

  3. With all the “evidence of her body” people sometimes forget that she is one talented singer…someone who has managed to reinvent herself over time, according to changing preferences, changing technology( Frozen, anyone?) and changing audiences! And she is successful. I guess, she can live with that…the naysayers be damned! πŸ˜€

      1. Ohh…I actually was referring to the song Frozen..and the fact that Ray of Light album was the first time she experimented with Electronica…a new technology…so to speak!

  4. People always refer to Madonna as a musician, but what she is and excels at being is an Entertainer. It is a distinction. She also seems to have a great deal of depth as a person, working for good in many areas and many ways. I think talking about her overtly sexual behavior is one of our (society’s) favourite ways of not acknowledging the person. Her being sexual in public is one tiny aspect of a whole amazing woman who deserves to be recognized and acknowledged for everything that she is and does. Just backing up a moment to point out that as the outstanding entertainer that she is, ‘conforming’ to society’s rules of female attractiveness is simply part and parcel of the whole deal. Is she a hypocrite for being the most successful entertainer she can be — which is, after all, her chosen career — or is that just another amazing thing about this woman who has been so incredibly successful in so many areas? I think perhaps you are being a little bit of a hypocrite to focus so exclusively on her public sexual performance.

    Just as a side note, I wouldn’t recognize a Madonna song if I heard it, although I have seen her perform more than once. πŸ˜‰

    1. Okay thank you. Although I think I did mention just about every aspect of her from her child rearing to her music to her tenacity. To not mention or even focus on something that SHE has placed such focus on to grab headlines over the decades would be rather remiss as a writer. It would be like writing about Miley Cyrus and omitting to mention that she likes to show her breasts a lot.

      ‘Just backing up a moment to point out that as the outstanding entertainer that she is, β€˜conforming’ to society’s rules of female attractiveness is simply part and parcel of the whole deal.’ Not sure I would agree. Someone with her legacy has the power to change expectations which she claims she is doing with her continuous #rebelheart pronouncements. Rebels don’t conform.

      My mother would be very upset to hear that last bit. She LOVES Madonna!

      1. You did mention many things Madonna does/has done, but it seems to me you implied that somehow that all was less than her showing a bit of breast, or that her public sexuality takes away from everything else that she is/does. Why can’t she be remembered for being a good mom, and championing oppressed people, AND for showing her breasts? The problem I am seeing is the disproportionate weight given to a bit of exhibitionism which, let’s face it, most people like to see after all. I also wonder why the exhibitionism is seen as questionable. What is wrong with it? Who is it hurting? She’s a lovely woman, she likes to look good, we like to see her looking good, yes?

      2. No M, if anything I was implying the complete opposite. I was questioning if that is all we will remember of her because that is the easy / lazy thing to do, especially because she is a woman.

        I was questioning if that is her fault or societies fault that she may be remembered for great tunes, but they will give a great amount of time to her sexual shenanigans should she ‘pop her clogs.’

        I actually don’t think it is wildly disproportionate. She did things like the Sex book for a reason. She simulated sex onstage for a reason. She tongue kissed women in particular, pointedly, repeatedly and publicly for a reason. Many of her visual themes are sexual. That is HER choice to do these things. It doesn’t have to hurt anyone, but people are going to mention it.

      3. “She did it for a reason” is supposed to mean what? She recorded her first single for a reason, she adopted a child for a reason. What is the reason, what is it you are implying here? The fact that she kisses women in public is questionable solely because she is a woman — see anyone making a big deal about a man kissing lots of women, and in public, and on purpose! OMG! How shocking!

        She is a fantastic entertainer, of course over-the-top display has always been part of entertainment. “A cast of thousands!” and so on. Please check your assumptions at the gate.

        Oh, I can’t even go on with this. Suffice it to say that I don’t think that any of it is Madonna’s ‘fault.’ I just wonder why it is a question of ‘fault’ at all.

    2. She did it for a reason for those of you not operating on a full brain load means Madonna did it for the publicity. Publicity equals sales. The fact that she kisses woman in public is for the same reason. Publicity and sales. The Editor knows about Madonna’s background having worked with her people and unlike you she is not assuming anything. So why don’t you check your uninformed comments at the door. You didn’t even know the songs she sings and yet you’re in a position to tell someone who is in the business and has the connections? GTFOH.
      I’m so sick of moody people coming on here to make an argument instead of a normal discussion because apparently they are tired, bitchy or both.

      Thanks Ed! I saw the other twat that came for you on the other post out of the blue and one of your other commenters put her in her place too. We got your back! πŸ™‚

  5. I think Madonna should be known for not only her music but for being a strong woman. She does what she wants and doesn’t care what others think. I think she shows us that woman should not be afraid for who they are and their sexuality. She looks good for her age and I think she says “you can be my age and still look, feel and do the things of a younger person”. I also think some of it is for shock value. She isn’t afraid to express her self in any way.

    As for other women, some of them do it just do it. I believe that even if you show some skin, it’s how it’s done and how often that makes it “classy” I guess is how to put it. I think Madonna will be know for both her music and for being “out there” and to me that’s ok (in Madonna’s case).

    1. “you can be my age and still look, feel and do the things of a younger person”. I actually think Madonna has more energy and get-up-and-go than most younger people! πŸ™‚

  6. I think of her legacy in purely musical terms (as a music blogger). Her body of work has been hit and miss, with some extraordinary high’s (albums “Like A Prayer” and “Ray Of Light”) and some dreadful low’s (“Bedtime Stories” and “American Life”).

    I admire that she is still relevant as a singer/songwriter and for better or worse the likes of Britney, Christina and many many others would have had a more difficult route to stardom were it not for Madonna.

    I don’t think there has ever been a female artist who has ever been so desperately ambitious to achieve stardom, and boy has she worked hard for it.

  7. Madonna was always since I can rememberLOL been my heroine. She’s so fiercely independent but in being independent works really hard to create and maintain that. Just imagine as you noted how long she has successfully kept herself in the public’s eye, raising her kids (and having the courage to adopt!!) and that all takes great strength, belief in oneself and the ability to stay motivated. No matter what anyone says, on a level, they’ll all jealous.LOL So long live Madonna. We can all learn a lot from her…

  8. I think madonnas rocks! A woman like her comes along only few times. Had M.M. Lived, who knows if she’d achieved what madonnas has? She’s kept a ‘to die for ‘ body I mean I’d kill to have that shape, and imagine how hard she’s worked at it? Also her career, her kids, her consistently reinventing herself. She’s a woman to seriously check out, and shows what women are capable of! Rock on chick!

    1. Who knows eh? MM may have achieved some great things, but in her own gentle style. Madonna is a once in a lifetime kinda gal. The woman is without equal. People as usual won’t know what they have in her until she is gone.

  9. Madonna has always been a pioneer in doing what you want and not apologizing for it. Sex definitely sells and so does being yourself. I’ve grown up with her music (still like the early stuff better) and it’s amazing that she’s had such a long career. I read the Cosmopolitan article on her recently and she’s just as candid as expected. Whether or not people agree with what’s she’s done or is doing, I DO admire her boldness, unapologetic attitude and nonconformity.

    1. Yes …to some degree but then with the face stretching you could not get more conformist in today’s world. It’s a personal choice yes, but also conformist. If she rocked her natural wrinkles she would still be dogged (because she is a woman) but what a message she would be sending and one that didn’t fly in the face of all her other messages. Now THAT would be a strong woman.

      1. I do agree with the fact that women are blatantly “dogged” more for aging, which is total BS; however, one could argue the fact that Madonna is still sending a message of “hey, I got my face stretched and don’t really care what anyone thinks.” I don’t think that buying into plastic surgery, enhancements or wanting to remain youthful make a woman, or man, less strong. If you’re making a choice to better your life and be happy, according to your own standards, THAT to me is being strong.

      2. If she actually DIDN’T give too hoots THAT indeed would be the bomb! The proverbial 2 fingers to everyone. But clearly based on her own tweets and interviews, she does.
        And I agree face stretching or other enhancements does not automatically mean you are not a strong person. Thanks mcowder.

      3. Very true! I can’t attest to the tweets, as I’m not on Twitter, and I’ve only read the one article that she’s done recently. Guess I don’t get out much! πŸ™‚ I’m of the opinion that everyone cares, at least a little, about what people think of them and their actions.

      4. In the end we all do when we shut the front door on the world eh? However brave a face we put on and however rock solid we seem to others…there’s always that weak spot!

      5. Well said! People typically only see what you let them see and most often it’s not our weak parts. Good and bad, if you ask me.

  10. Good food for thought. I think they’re is something fundamental about women adorning themselves more than men (in other species it’s often the reverse); women insist they do it for themselves, not men, and I think this is at least partly true. However, men (gay men, as well) are also more visually stimulated than women. Couple this with the fact that men have a deep need to be desired (wanted), and the result is that a woman who dresses in a stimulating manner and evokes an “I want you” attitude has a powerful effect on men. Is she being used? Certainly most porn “actresses” are. But others, like Madonna, insist that they have taken ownership of these tools, and many women admire or attempt to emulate them in doing so. I suspect that sexuality so wielded is BOTH a form of control (on a woman’s part) and a way of being controlled (with men setting the agenda). Marilyn Monroe was a sex goddess with immense control over men’s psyches; she was also a fictional creation that entrapped and eventually killed her creator, a deeply insecure girl named Norma Jean.

    1. Wow some powerful points here Mitch. Your point reminds me of the assumption that a young beautiful woman with a crusty old gent is the one being used, (or vice versa) when it is clearly a two way street with understood gains on both sides.
      Interesting when you talk of men’s desire to be wanted, I wonder if strong women like Madonna go past that point as she also puts out perhaps a little too much strength and invincibility for men of equal standing to handle?
      The Marilyn Monroe observation, nicely put. Someone Madonna borrowed a lot of aesthetic from if not her fragility.

  11. Life is messy. That is all we are encouraged to believe. Debauchery is glamourised. Prized.
    Music lives on as long as it needs to be heard. I will let you know when love is driving the bus. πŸ™‚

      1. I must admit that I was more interested to hear what others had to say about this than what I already know I think or think I know. Learn something. Know what I mean? πŸ™‚

      2. I’m always more interested in what others have to say about a subject. it usually throws up something I hadn’t considered. Plus Madonna is always a polarizing subject!

      1. Okay, that’s it? You come on my blog ABOUT MADONNA and tell me who I should write about instead, because presumably Madonna is not a lofty enough lefty political fighter for the workers and that’s it? That’s how you represent? All those illustrious names you cracked out and that’s how you open the conversation that YOU asked for?

        Think I’ll stick with Madonna.

      2. Good points. I’m sorry. I can be impossible sometimes.
        I actually love really Madonna because she so subversively does make the connections to which I refer, and she does so on her own terms. As Exene Cervanka would say “THAT’s an artist…and then there’s lonliness,”
        I get so politically frustrated that that I jump on an obnoxious soapbox before I stop to think.
        That’s NO excuse: I bet Madonna would have told me to fuck right off.
        Anyway, I’ve learned another lesson.
        Thanks for that. Sorry again, and I won’t intrude further.
        Peace.

      3. Lady, when you come to the table like that you can intrude all you want, particularly because it opens the door to the deeper issues you actually want to express.

        I don’t have to tell you that your subjects are not an easy sell, but you clearly have the ability to embrace different topics AND different audiences and THEN lead folks back to the political, social and historical relevance which appears to be your favoured area. Don’t back off, instead, why not use that ability? Not everybody has it.

  12. I don’t know what Madonna’s legacy will be – to be honest I’m not a big fan of her music – but she’s shown herself to be a strong, business savvy woman and artist. I think she knows sex sells, just as you and I do (after all why would you use that photo, that line, bring up those events?).

    I can think of any number of high profile women both from within and outside the arts who don’t dress revealingly or provocatively. I think Madonna chose a marketing platform early on and has stuck to it, to great success. As a woman I find the internalised misogyny label offensive. It seems to be trotted out (although not by you, in this case) whenever a woman does or thinks something that other women see as being anti-feminist. A recent example I read was about women who oppose abortion – they must have internalised misogyny (poor dears, they don’t even know it).

    As for raising three kids alone…then what is she paying the nannies for?

    Oh she sings that ‘little prayer’ song doesn’t she? I love that one.

    1. And that’s why I love you LittleMissW! You give me a run for my money. Do you know, I couldn’t even tell you by what exact mind process that topless pic was chosen. Without doubt it was chosen because our artist could do a good job of it based on the lack of colour and specific style needed for our usage of it, but I hadn’t even thought about perhaps the other reason why it was used. But as I sit here analysing the process, you betcha, I’m sure it was picked for that reason also, ‘sex sells.’

      But, in my humble defence, using that line, and relating those events were necessary to illustrate the point of the article. i.e does her sex talk, raunchy behaviour and nudity overshadow her other achievements?

      And wow I’m a feminist and didn’t know it! I have never heard of ‘internalised misogyny’ but I can see how it applies here and probably in many feminist tirades.
      In spite of my ignorance of this as an existing feminist argument, do you not think though, regardless of hating it that it is possible for a woman to act without knowing that she is upholding a misogynist system? Particularly emerging young women finding out about themselves and looking for guidance and markers from other women on how to behave. Does hating the argument make it invalid?

      Now of course we know she will have nannies, but my point is how many single dads at her success level are known for raising so many (so far well behaved) kids ostensibly alone? The standard would be that a hugely successful man would get remarried and the new wife or girlfriend would take over the role of (step)mother, with or without the help of nannies. In Madonna’s case I can’t see the young bucks she dates being allowed to do that. I can’t pooh pooh her role as a strong mother just because she probably has nannies.

      And yes she sings that ‘little prayer song’ lol.

  13. I’m not sure that anyone with such a lengthy career has had a strategic approach to how they present themselves at every stage of said career. And Madonna is considered the queen of reinvention. So perhaps it’s more to do with which battles she chooses to ‘fight’. In challenging people’s perceptions she demonstrates her determination to succeed and to remain current – but this may well be a disguise, something to hide behind – and who can blame anyone in the public eye for that. What I think is relevant is that her music continues to sell, she has fans of wildly different ages and she continues to highlight hypocrisy. Flashing a nipple certainly divides opinion but hopefully what it really does is show how unacceptable it is to judge ‘a book by its cover.’

    1. Thanks Harvey. You mention hypocrisy. How do you align someone who declares war on ageism and demands that women not be judged by their age doing everything they can to stay looking unnaturally young?

      No trick question just interested in your opinion. Of course she is entitled to do whatever she wishes with her face, but if we are talking hypocrisy, isn’t she pandering to the limiting societal expectations for women and how they should look, whilst rallying against it at the same time? What say you?

      My other question would be if you go out of your way to present your cover in a very particular or unusual or knowingly controversial way…we make judgements everyday, why shouldn’t people judge that, positively or negatively?

  14. Madonna has played the game like a man and won. I admire her for sticking her neck out (or boob) to stay in the media limelight. When she finally took voice lessons, her music became much more legit. I loved her in the movies “A League of their Own” and “Evita”. I can sing most of her (earlier) songs. She followed the similar path of Cher and both women are still criticized for the their clothes,hair, sex, AGE, whatever. Forget that both women have Grammy’s, Oscars (and noms), and Golden globes. Rock on, Madonna!

    1. I am always thinking ‘have people forgotten what a great natural actress Cher is? But it’s what I said at the end, if a woman introduces the use of her body on top of her talent all her achievements go out the window and she is remembered only for the nudity. Not so with men.
      I also thought Madonna was brilliant in ‘A League Of Their Own.’ Her and Rosie O’Donnell were great together. I even liked ‘Swept Away’ – There I said it in public! Although ‘Body Of Evidence’… 😯

      But has she won? I get the feeling that (like most people) Madonna wants to be loved and understood for the things she does or she would not feel the need to keep explaining herself on Twitter. Sure she has the money and the fame but clearly not the acceptance from as many people as she would like it from.

      1. Agree, you can see/hear/watch the need for acceptance with Madonna (and others). At least she has WORKED for her fame/wealth – not like some others (Kardashians). LOL To watch KK with Kanye is amusing – she went from trying to find love in all the wrong places to now being a puppet (sidekick) to a self absorbent man. Sad… but you can see the similarities to these women in the ‘lack’ of a male figure in their lives.
        Madonna, Cher and Pat Benatar are huge influences of strong women from my youth – I loved their music, what they’ve done for themselves and convictions.

  15. She’s probably a little bit of both. I’d say she’s probably more a slave to men’s appetites than anything else. Nothing new there. Sex always sells. And if all you can do is identify yourself with your body (and little else–crude lyrics about sex and nude shit in music videos not included), you’re pretty much just a cheap product of evolution: meant to captivate the senses geared for reproduction.

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