By KATE LEAVER
If Madonna wants to strip down to her undies, that’s her business. No truly, it’s actually her business. It’s what she does. She sings, she dances, she bares flesh and she defies age. She’s very partial to a bit of a strip-tease. That’s cool, shake it sister.
But Madonna’s latest reason for stripping troubles me.
Have a quick squiz at this video – recorded by an audience member at an LA concert last week. Try and pick the part of her righteous pop-sermon that upsets me the most. (Hint: it’s about 3mins 50secs in).
Madonna dedicated this particular strip dance to Malala Yousafzi. Malala is the extraordinary 14 year old girl who was shot twice by the Taliban, simply because she had blogged about the importance of getting an education. Malala is recovering, and I think that when she wakes the Nobel Peace Prize should be waiting for her.
Take it from the EU, they’re a conglomerate of countries, they don’t need it. This young girl is the most exquisite inspiration we’ve known in a long time, and already her actions have spurred revolution. She’s brave in a way none of us will truly understand.
So when Madonna shimmies out of clothes to reveal the letters M-A-L-A-L-A scrawled on her back during her concert, it makes me cringe.
It’s perverse, and tasteless. It sullies her honour, especially because the allegiance Madonna shows is all part of a pre-show warm-up.
Madge is revving up the audience for action, she’s getting them excited for the glitzy, bawdy, no-doubt-totally-fabulous show they paid to see. She’s saying whatever she can to get people screaming, and dancing.
While Malala lies in a hospital bed recovering, Madonna and her legion of fans are out in force celebrating the liberty she will never know. Malala dresses in a burqa, under which she hid her school books. And to honour her, Madonna takes off all her clothes? It reminds me of the scene in Sex & the City The Movie: The Racially Insensitive Sequel, where the glamourous four take to the stage in a ghastly celebration of wealth, girl power and karaoke.
I can’t help thinking that choosing to wear Malala’s name on her skin is Madonna’s latest bid to stay relevant. Couldn’t she have chosen to write a beautiful letter, like Angelina Jolie? Couldn’t she have sent Malala a message of support? Donated some of her concert profits to girls’ education in Pakistan? She has the world’s media on speed dial, she can step in and out of the spotlight at will, and she can choose any moment she pleases to make a comment on social issues.
But to Madonna, the perfect moment to discuss Malala’s courage was mid-strip tease.
I’m not surprised. Madonna thrives on shock factor. Smashing social etiquette is her bread and butter. She’s the long-reigning Queen of Subversive Pop. But her judgment and standards of decency are slipping. Is she provocative now, or just inappropriate? Is she edgy, or tactless?
Remember her woefully timed Sexy Dance With Guns at a concert in Edinburgh in July this year. Just 36 hours after the Colorado shooting, in which 12 people were killed at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Madonna ignored police requests to cancel choreography that included waving pistols around.