This morning Twitter, Facebook, the papers, the TV are full of pictures from the 'Met Ball' in New York. As with the Oscars, this so-called ball appears to be a large and commercial catwalk and very little else. I can't imagine what the pressure over outfit choice must be like, especially for those lower down the celebrity pecking order and hoping to be noticed for all the right reasons.
So I am confused as to what to think about Madonna's Met Ball get-up last night. Madonna has always gone out to shock and I suppose her garb was nothing new. It's just that I am worryingly uncomfortable with someone of her age dressing like that. I say worrying because I firmly believe in a person's right to be how they want, dress how they want etc.
However, between the weirdness (to say the least) of the outfit and the contortions of her strangely altered face, one could not help wishing that she was not a little more willing to head a little more into 'elder statesperson' territory and have a little more dignity. She has surely nothing left to prove to anyone. And given the apparent rift between her and her son, you can't imagine she has done much for her son's frame of mind. Teenagers do not like to be embarrassed by their parents. They don't even like you to dance in public let alone get your bottom out for the world's press.
I would believe the same about any star who behaved like this. Male or female. But I suppose the sad fact is that it is fine for the Rolling Stones and other males to carry on with craggy faces and slack necks. Women feel they have to continually prove their bodies remain unchanged. I got so sick of the word 'showcasing' being used in tabloids describing some female celebrity out and about in a low top or a short skirt. But when I thought about this, really isn't that what these people are doing? They want to make a living from looking good. They may want to be good actors but Hollywood will not let them just act. They have to be like models, to compete with models' for product endorsements and to defy both age and gravity with their faces and their bodies. The same goes for ageing popstars (see Kylie's permanently surprised expression).
Wouldn't it be far more radical, therefore, for Madonna and others to embrace their ages? To dress well and to not care what others think rather than treading water, frantically trying to remain 'edgy' and 'shocking'? Wouldn't that be a better example? Saying, I don't have to dress like a twenty year old to make music still.
I guess there isn't much of a family history link with this post. But one thing from history - after the French Revolution, a number of the most famous women in Paris took to going to the opera and theatre completely topless except for a diamond necklaces. So Madonna and others have a way to go yet...