Across every major media outlet this morning is a story about Madonna.
She made a speech, you see, whilst accepting the Billboard ‘Woman Of The Year’ Award for 2016. A very good speech. It’s gone viral.
It was a rousing battle cry for women worldwide as she tackled sexism, feminism, homophobia, and ageism; all while discussing shocking details about her life in a frank and candid fashion. It was brave, it was heartfelt, and even the trashiest celeb rags are giving her a standing ovation this morning.
But Madonna best enjoy her moment as the reigning queen of feminism while she still can, because it’s a title that’s unlikely to last long.
Why? Because Madonna – like so many other women in the spotlight – is a bad feminist. A botoxed, rich, sexual, loud, flawed feminist. And for so many of us, that puts her into a category we just can’t quite get our head around, even if there’s a bloody good chance that we are a ‘bad feminist’ ourselves.
I didn’t coin the term ‘bad feminist’.
It’s been around for a long time, and has been used by many women to describe many experiences. Hey, even Madonna borrowed it in her Billboard acceptance speech.
“I remember wishing I had a female peer I could look to for support,” said Madonna, when describing the backlash she received in her post-divorce years as she released her Sex book, and Erotica album.
“Camille Paglia, the famous feminist writer, said I set women back by objectifying myself sexually. So I thought, ‘oh, if you’re a feminist, you don’t have sexuality, you deny it.’ So I said ‘fuck it. I’m a different kind of feminist. I’m a bad feminist.'”
Watch Madonna’s acceptance speech below. (Post continues after video)
The idea of feminism still seems to be rooted in a hairy armpit, bra burning, serious-political-academic-type that has been around since the 1970s.
So despite the fact that Madonna has a career that’s lasted longer (and has been more successful) than many men, despite the personal and professional hurdles she’s surpassed, despite being a multi-millionaire, mother-to-four, charity-founding icon – she’s not that much of a feminist because she’s had plastic surgery and often doesn’t wear pants.
She might be a feminist, but she’s a bad feminist.
Another pop icon who’s danced across the front page news lately is Mariah Carey.
Mariah, who we didn’t really care that much about until she started dating James Packer. The total boss who has made such stratospheric amounts of money (around $500 million) that she can afford to pay people to CARRY her from the stage to her dressing room.