Have you seen Madonna’s Woman of the Year award speech from the 2016 Billboard Women in Music event?
My Facebook feed was filled with raves all weekend.
I can’t get it out of my mind – it brought tears to my eyes watching it again this morning.
Madonna totally let loose on the sexism – and ageism – she’s endured as a female entertainer in the music industry.
Among her controversial words: “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.
“I was of course inspired by Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin, but my real muse was David Bowie. He embodied male and female spirit and that suited me just fine. He made me think there were no rules. But I was wrong. There are no rules — if you’re a boy. There are rules if you’re a girl.
“If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men …
“And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticised and vilified and you will definitely not be played on the radio.”
I thought her message was awesome, but I felt sad that she delivered it through a mask of immovable flesh, which I presume was the result of extensive Botox.
I wished Madonna hadn’t railed against ageism while simultaneously feeling compelled to freeze all signs of life from her face.
I’ve been there, done that too: in my magazine days, I loved getting free injections from a plastic surgeon.
It was a novelty to be devoid of frown lines for a few months, but I’ve decided I wouldn’t go there again … even if my finances were less parlous.
The realisation came after lunch with a friend. I became increasingly concerned as the afternoon progressed that she was depressed. After we parted, I texted to ask if she was OK. She assured me she was perfectly fine.
A few days later it occurred to me she wasn’t bleak or sad, she was just blank because of Botox.
I’ve decided I don’t want to be blank. I really, really wish my face didn’t sag quite so much and have quite so many lines, but I prefer those flaws to being frozen.
When the joy bubbles out of me, it lights up my face and takes 10 years off without the need for injections. And that joy is infectious – I don’t want to lose the ability to light others up with me.
Oh, and I talk waaaaaay too much to try and jibber jabber with an Easter Island face.
That said, lots of my friends absolutely love the stuff. And, if it makes them feel better about their appearance, then go for it.
But it’s not for me. I’ve decided to age disgracefully … For now … come back to me again when I’m 50 … I’ll probably have caved and taken a personal loan out for plastic surgery … I do look quite fetching when I pull back my hair back into a tight ponytail …
If you had loads of dosh, would you spend it on injectables … or a facelift?
Song of the day: Madonna “Get into the groove” (oh how I loved that movie)