Like I wrote in an earlier post today I watched the Grammy Awards at a pub in the village last night. Everyone had something to say about how the women looked. Criticisms were rampant about their bodies, faces, weight, dress the list goes on and on. Me included.
This morning I gave it a lot of thought, especially after I read some disparaging comments regarding Madonna’s face. I’ve always maintained when defending Madonna that she can look however she wants to look. You be 55 your way and she’ll be 55 her way.
What I find intolerable is how certain individuals feel that they’re entitled to have an opinion on how women look. I don’t think they have the right, especially since many of them couldn’t emotionally handle similar criticisms themselves.
I tend to judge musicians based on their talent, not on what they look like. But I couldn’t help but feel annoyed with the double standard. Beyonce’s performance stood out for me as a whole. Dressed in next to nothing, wearing what appeared to be a thong, the message was disturbingly similar: Women are valued on how sexy they are, and not on their abilities. Their entire purpose in life is to give a man a boner.
Men on the other hand are spared. The male performers from last night were fully clothed, not an inch of skin exposed, dressed in tuxedos or suits, looking handsome. If they were more enticingly dressed, we would laugh at them, assume that they’re gay, weak, not serious.
Then of course there was Madonna. Now 55, the material girl is expected to behave and dress in a manner that makes us comfortable. She’s old we say and she must dress age appropriate. I’m actually happy that like usual, she doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks.
Madonna arrived on the red carpet with her adopted black son — in what I felt was a carefully, yet not very subtle PR move designed to show audiences that she isn’t racist after her ill-planned Instagram comment last week — wearing a dark black suit, complimented by her much maligned grillz. When asked about them, she confessed that she wears them because it pisses people off. Good for her.
Here is a woman who bravely defended gay people in a time when the AIDS crisis made them villains. She has always stood at the forefront of gay rights, a task that wasn’t easy when she was rising to superstardom. But she held firm and steady, a quality that I have always found admirable.
She takes a lot of flak from the media, everyone has an opinion on her plastic surgery. It seems to me a shallow criteria to judge someone by, and also none of their bloody business. If these individuals are so opposed to plastic surgery, then they shouldn’t have anything done themselves.
It seems to me unfair. Now that Madonna is covering up, wearing less revealing clothes you would think that people would be grateful, their outrage eased. But no. Their flogging isn’t done.
As a huge Tori Amos fan I read comments from people about how “disappointed” they are with her recent swollen face. They lament about how beautiful she used to look. The tired argument that she has refused to age gracefully holds firm. Recently she had her teeth capped, this was earth shattering to some of her fans.
In her autobiography Piece by Piece, Tori speaks openly about her ‘dermatology’ appointments but she is also frank about a jaw deformity she was born with that, as she ages, requires steroid treatments to soothe the pain.
I don’t presume to know what it must be like to be a woman of a “certain age” in show business. It seems that your best before date is 40-years old, and that’s being generous. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t criticize a woman for getting older and then attack her for trying to fight the process.
It’s also not nice. Personally, as a man whose hair has thinned significantly over the years, people make a lot of pejorative comments to me, and behind my back, about how I look. If I were to try Rogaine, or spend money on a costly hair transplant, I doubt it would do much to assuage their harmful, shallow judgments.
Why should I feel bad about how I look? Why should anyone have a say about it? Clearly there is nothing wrong with a bald guy because it’s natural, normal and happens to a lot of people. Why make someone feel unattractive for something that they can’t control? I’m often disturbed — but not hurt — by how terribly judgmental people are to anyone who doesn’t fit into their limited definition of attractiveness.
I guess I’m confused why anyone would want to criticize someone’s appearance, stranger or not. We’re all born with our faces and bodies, though we can augment them as much as we want. To say that someone is “ugly”, or would be “better looking if…” is concerning, because it reflects psychology.
Making shallow pejorative statements is used to either hide a person’s deep-rooted insecurities about their own looks, which is based on buying into social standards, or it’s simply mean-spirited. Regardless, the antidote to all this is a little thought, and kindness.
Anyway about Madonna’s face. I think she looks beautiful because she feels beautiful. Who am I to get in the way of that?
For those who want to I have a couple of questions: How would you feel if someone said that you were old, haggard and ugly? That’s not so hard to imagine is it? And I’m certain that it wouldn’t make you feel very good.