In our lifetimes few women have made such an impact on pop culture than Madonna. With each and every reinvention – and there have been many, from ’80s fashion icon to ’90s sex provocateur-turned-kabbalah hippy mum to ’00s disco revivalist, Madonna Louise Ciccone has challenged society’s notions of what a powerful woman looks like, how she’s “allowed” to act, and of course, express herself.
As Madonna celebrates her 60th birthday this week, it would be a borderline travesty if we didn’t pay tribute to the woman whose influence has seeped into our lives through her songs, music videos, movies (Desperately Seeking Susan yes, Swept Away maybe not), looks and scandals. Oh, the scandals.
Most of us can recall our first encounter with Madonna. For one of my friends, she wouldn’t have been born if her mum hadn’t heard ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ in a car park (“I’m keeping my baby”). Another confessed that she lost her virginity the same year as ‘Like A Virgin’ touched us for the very first time. On that note, here are some of my colleagues and friends’ first Madonna memories.
Mia Freedman, Mamamia co-founder.
I was about 12 and her song ‘Like A Virgin’ had just been released and I remember being quite scandalised by the lyrics and that she was singing about sex. I bought lots of rubber bangles and six years later I bought ridiculously expensive tickets to see her live when she came to Sydney. We were so far away we practically had nosebleeds and she was the size of my fingernail so I watched the whole concert on a screen.
Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ video: ICONIC. Image: GIPHY.