opinion

When you and your breasts are 56, you've earned the right to do what you want with them. 

Madonna. Yes.

 

Is there anything more shocking than an “old” pair of breasts?

When a topless photo shoot is a rite of passage for every actress, popstar and reality TV contestant, the bare breast of a celebrity barely raises an eyebrow.

Unless that breast is over 40. Then, the world sets its hair on fire.

And at over 50, a nipple still has the power to shock. In a big, bad way.

Madonna has been using her body to shock you for more than three decades. She first posed topless for a photographer in 1979. And now she’s done it again, in a shoot for Interview Magazine.

We’ve seen Madge’s boobs so many times they feel like old friends. They were fabulous when she was 21 and they are fabulous now she’s 56.

Here they are, today:

Madonna in Interview Magazine, nipples blurred. Pic by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggett. 

But, while it may have been hot and steamy and garnered boundless positive attention in the past, it is no longer okay for Madonna to reveal her breasts.

It is not okay to pose semi-nude when you are over 40.

You will be taken down. You will be ridiculed for it. The Internet will post pictures like this on Twitter to taunt you about your supposedly saggy breasts.

A picture of Little Britain’s Matt Lucas as Bubbles Devere was Tweeted as a comparison to Madonna’s shoot. We can’t see the resemblance. 

People will be unsettled, they will tell you that you are “Mutton dressed as lamb”, they will tell you that no-one wants to see this any more, and that you should grow up and put them away. Other women, like singer Annie Lennox, will call you attention-seeking on morning television. Basically, you will have succeeded in shocking but not for the reasons you might have hoped.

Madonna’s cover of Interview. 

There is an argument here for the fact that it must be exhausting to still be trading on your looks and your sexuality when you’re well and truly in your second act. There’s an argument here for the fact that the only reason that Madonna’s breasts still get a run in any magazine is because they look like they belong to a woman half her age.

And there’s an argument here for the fact that these images have been Photoshopped to within a pixel of their very existence, so who really knows what a 56-year-old’s woman’s breasts look like, anyway.

But.

None of that is what’s going on.

Madonna’s breasts through the ages (certainly NSFW). Post continues after gallery.

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People are not really outraged about Madonna’s breasts. At least not for the reason they say they are. They’re simply pretending to be outraged about Madonna’s breasts because playing on the insecurity of ageing is still a legitimate way to attack a a powerful woman.

Madonna is a woman who has been making her own money (and mountains of it) on her own terms, for decades. Taking and leaving husbands, creating a diverse family, running companies, making movies, acting, singing, making art, building schools in Africa and all the while showing a very literal middle finger to conservative values and anyone’s opinion of what she ‘should’ be doing.

Surely no-one expects Madonna, who has been simulating sex on stage for 30 years and once released an entire coffee table book of soft-porn self-portraits, to grow into middle-aged spread, a warm cardie and a sensible sandal. But the world can look at Madonna baring her breasts at 56 and say, ‘how pathetic. how desperate, how sad,’ and instantly reduce her value in the physical currency that the world understands best – youth.

And with that, one of the world’s most famous women is dismissed as a wannabe.

Well, I’m calling bullshit.

When you and your breasts are 56, you have earned the right to do with them whatever you will.

Whether they’re wrinkly and stretch-marked, or Photoshopped fabulous, whether they bear the battle scars of a masectomy, or keyhole scars from a boob job. Your call.

If you are 56 and wanting to express yourself as a sexual person, and challenge the world’s narrow view of the appropriate retirement age for fucking, go for it. If Madonna wants to wear them around her neck like a scarf , Madonna can do exactly that.

If you’re offended by a 56-year-old woman’s breasts, that’s your problem. It certainly isn’t Madonna’s.

Have a look the long list of other celebrities who’ve posed topless for magazines.

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