Madonna is like you and me. She’s aging. And she’s happy about it no more than we are. So, what does Madonna do? She turns to the same thing we all turn to when our age starts showing: modern science and cosmetic advances. The difference between Madonna and us… she doesn’t try to hide her alleged nips, snips, or tucks!
Actually, I don’t believe she’s gone under the knife —yet, but it seems she has taken the less invasive and common approach with cosmetic fillers and treatments like Juvaderm, Restylane, and botox. But even if she did get that mask tightened with a scalpel and sutures, who cares —she looks absolutely fantastic today at 63. And, as always, gives zero fux about our opinions.
I can understand why Madonna would want to look good not only for herself but also because she feels young at heart and she seems very much in love with Ahlamalik Williams, her handsome beau, who is quite a few years her junior. It sparks jealously and resentment among some. A cougar-esque Madge, in the throes of passion with a hot, beautiful, tight-bodied, brown-skinned backup dancer, 27 years old, triggers a lot of envy-based social media vitriol.
People’s claws really came out recently in response to Madonna’s new spread for V Magazine, shot by one of my all-time fashion photo heroes Steven Klein. It’s Madonna’s possibly most brilliant incarnation, one that dares unapologetically to say, “this is me over 60, so get over it bitches!”
One of the shots igniting most of the ire is Madonna’s suspiciously perfect, spherical nude booty —on full display. But the whole spread is genius, illuminating her undying passion for channeling the iconography of old Hollywood. This time though, it’s her interpretation of 36-year old Marilyn during her last days of life, seemingly infused with a bit of the smoldering Mae West and a hint of Jayne Mansfield. She looks stunning.
As for the photographic art direction, let’s suppose anything was deserving of blowback. In that case, it’s Madonna’s morbid romanticization and exploitation of Marilyn’s Monroe’s death. Her setting for the photoshoot includes a replication of the room in which the 36-year-old screen goddess died. Madonna even replicated Marilyn’s bedside nightstand table covered in prescription bill bottles. This is a no for me. There is nothing artistic about substance abuse.
However, the photos wow’d Madonna fans globally and ignited anticipation of perhaps a new album following her recent Madame X concert film. The success of Madame X has made it clear that Madonna remains an intriguing global force —but with a different narrative today; older, wiser, and navigating the unknown of an aging process from which none of us are exempt.
The Madonna’s 2021 reinvention celebration is short-lived, though, because —here come the older bitchy gays.
I don’t know what’s going on, but recently, older gay men — many over 50 and 60 years old themselves are growing more critical of Madonna’s looks and body as she uses science to beat the clock. Their criticism of choice is to mock her “refreshed” face, sexy clothing, and her often bared voluptuous butt. It’s good ol’ fashioned sexism and ageism if you ask me —and it’s terribly disappointing coming from gay men of a certain age.
As I posted recently on Facebook, nothing burns me more than ageist comments from older gays suggesting Madonna should “act her age” or stop showing her body. Why should she stop now —when THEY haven’t?
Get over it, boys. Just because your mothers and grandmas are walking about covered up in DressBarn and Talbots —Madonna ain’t your grandma.
Check out the Facebook thread:
What pisses me off about their comments most is the hypocrisy.
On more than one occasion, I have checked out the photo albums of the gay men bashing Madonna. Such irony; often some of these men demanding Madonna dress her age, have countless photos of themselves, all over the country at various circuit parties in a sea of sweaty 20 somethings. I guess it’s ok for these “old” guys to still be circuit queens in their 50s and 60s, shirtless on dance-floors with their “old” asses out in leather chaps, jockstraps and baseball caps.
In other images, I found many of these guys sporting Ricky Martin’s 1999 flip-front ‘La Vida Loca’ haircut and rocking Abercrombie and Hollister T-shirts. Both those brands are geared towards an age demographic that has barely even started growing pubic hair.
What’s even more obnoxious is that these old queens think it is acceptable to make rude commentaries about Madonna’s face and physique, when like her, they are doing everything in their financial means to look younger. I see you, queens, searching for botox, dermabrasion, and face filler deals on Groupon, getting your buttholes bleached, and buying that underwear with the rounded fake butt pads to remind your denim of what your ass was like 25 years ago.
And don’t even get me started on the older gays out there who could literally be the grandfather of that latest twink they hooked up with on Grindr. If this is you, you are the last person who should be making an ageist comment about anyone. Instead, here’s an idea. Get yo’ life and let Madonna get hers.
Alas, the negativity will prevail.
We live in a time where people feel they have a right to say whatever they want without thinking about how their words make others feel. In Madonna’s case, though, she doesn’t care and never has.
Still, these older gay men need to stop criticizing her and embrace her for who she is: an icon who continues to inspire women and men everywhere. We should unconditionally support Madonna, if for no other reason than she has been one of the most fierce unconditional supporters of us and the entire LGBTQ community from the day she first arrived on the national music scene in the 80s.
Madonna isn’t afraid to augment and show off her hot body at 63. And it’s likely that if you have a problem with it, you might be struggling with your own confidence issues. So, I say good for you, Madge! Keep doing your thing no matter how old you get because we love having someone who doesn’t care what anyone thinks in the spotlight showing us, reminding us, how to live life on our terms —ass out, and everything!
This post is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.
21 thoughts on “The Bitter Irony of Older Gays’ Ageism Against Madonna ”
I’m 55. I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since 1984. I’ve been to several of her concerts. Bought most of her albums. I appreciate her as always having been an advocate for the gay community. An exceptional artist. A provocateur that shook things up when they needed to be. So I’m going to extend this beyond Madonna. I’m so tired of seeing headlines that say ______ is rocking a 2 piece bikini on the beach at age 55, when those photos are so photoshopped and airbrushed to the point that the picture looks nothing like the real life celebrity. And I think the older gay men with sagging butts in chaps is just as disturbing as Madonna is to prance around in fishnet stockings with a really badly butt implant job that looks odd and is disproportionate to the rest of her body. She is unrecognizable on magazine covers because those covers look nothing like the real life Madonna. I think it is great when people of any age want to dress sexy. I think Jane Fonda has an amazing sense of style and wheres skin tight clothes that look phenomenal on her. Regardless of age, there is a fine line between tasty and tacky, sexy and clownish, and when you just give the appearance of being desperate and trying too hard. In this way, Madonna is really in a league of her own. It’s not shaming. Madonna knows how to present herself in a very sexy way. She’s just lost her way. I don’t think Madonna is happy with who she is at this point in life. Her pictures tell a thousand words.
Gay men have a phobia of aging. Hence why gay men are venomous towards anyone over 30. To which I say don’t fall into the trap. Sex appeal and maintaining your looks are ageless. Love yourself and own your sex appeal no matter how old you happen to be. Please feel free to laugh at any bitter queen who tells you otherwise.
I am a 50 plus and loved a lot of Madonna’s music, but just because I grew up with her and feel like I know her doesn’t mean I have the right to make insulting comments about her looks, especially online comments. But this kind of thing is nothing new in my GAY community. We who don’t want to be judged, yet we judge our own community with our biases. Your Black, your Asian, your too fat, your too old, your too feminine etc. Unfortunately that’s a human thing that goes beyond our community but you would think we would be better.
In the gay community???
Who-da thunk it?
??? Why did Instinct post such a judgmental fanboy article like this, and what do “older gay men” have to do with it? Most “younger gay guys” don’t even know (or care) who Madonna is! This woman has always been an attention-seeking, not-particularly-talented singer and a terrible actress. The ice-cream licking “Mambo Italiano” video posted here from her Instagram account is an embarrassment; it’s a perfect example of how fame puts people into a vacuum to the point that they have no idea who they are anymore. Just because I’m gay that doesn’t mean I HAVE to like Madonna, like some of the other diva-worshipping members of our community.
If you read this article and then posed the question, “…and what do “older gay men” have to do with it?” then you need to read more and not just look at pictures and headlines.
The article makes it abundantly clearly what older gay men have to do with it. It’s literally the entire basis of the piece. Further more, this article takes no issue with gay men judging her for her acting or attention seeking – which by the way every celebrity on earth encapsulates, not just Madonna.
This article directly calls out ageism and sexism, period – not ice cream licking or whatever other irrelevant items you mentioned.
Seriously?!! I read this and wanted to throw up. I’m a gay man who is 50. (You call me older and I’ll slap you Joan Collins, Dynasty style). What 20-somethings, because you were an egg back then, forget. Our generation, meaning 50+, have EARNED THE RIGHT to jugde Madonna. Let me explain why.
The 20-somethings were not around when Madonna was clad in head-to-toe Keith Harring (if you don’t know who he is I can’t know you), painted mesh, bopping around in these bangles called “virgin bracelets” and being the “new girl” belting out “Lucky Star”. The 20-something weren’t there when she morphed into Miss “Like A Virgin”, then went on to “Expressing Herself” in Gaultier creations in front of the world. Honey! We have lived through EVERY incarnation of Madonna from NYC artist (even the “pink wig”) to cowgirl and Geisha to Madame X. We have seen her breasts, vagina and every part of her body from Erotica to now. So what does this mean?
Our generation knows Madonna has a MASSIVE, and when I mean MASSIVE I mean she’s been on the cover of Vogue, Time and W at least, what five times now each…EGO! She’s had articles, university papers, thesis and her impact on the Feminist movement, blah, blah, blah. For this new 20-something, “free to be you and me” generation Madonna seems new, bad, dangerous and liberating. Us 50+ somethings have already been where you are trying to go, we had more fun with her, wore Gaultier because she did, watched her dance pregnant, witness the birth of her kids, suffered when her marriages fell apart, reinvent, reinvent, reinvent herself so much it was almost exhausting. Here’s what you don’t know…
It’s only been since she left Guy Ritchie she started acknowledging her gay audiences until then he were just “fabulous men” who bought her records, video singles (yes she’s had one) and books aka The SEX Book. (Yes I have a copy!) This gives ME and my fellow “older gays” the right to judge, mock, and disapprove of what she does. Why? We put in the time, the fainting spells, hours of late-starting concerts, and the money. Plus this was all before the invention of the Internet, honey. You know those days you mock when we actually had to stand in a crowd, and line up for tickets at stadium to see her. Watch Truth or Dare you’ll see what we went through…and yes, it really happened.
But here’s what you forget.
In your “Pronoun Princess” world you haven’t earned the right that us 80s kids have judge her. In fact, the only thing you are doing in this article is judging gay men over 50. So here’s what I need you to do. Yes I’m condescending to you and your Generation Z, “can’t I just “like” something Twitter or Tik Tok?” folk. Sit down! Stop defending something you have NO idea the history about because you weren’t there, and keep your opinion of us 80s gays to yourself.
Thanks. Oh and, just so you know, Madonna would want you to still exit through the gift shop!
Kind of makes you wonder Max, what is the age of the writer of this post. Hmmm? You’re getting all projectile, don’t judge me while judging someone else, but what if your judge was someone of your own age? We have writers that are in their 40s and 50s so slow your role for not all 50+ people are going to jump on your “I’m old and grew up with Madonna so I’m entitled” bandwagon.
Those of us that are of your age also say sit down.
That is a blstaht lie….see the link below. Madonna has ALWAYS acknowledged her gay fans. She was at AMFAR events in 1991 and the most visible ally while Elton and George Michael were still in the closet. Diana Ross and Cher were scared embracing gay fans could impact their careers. I’m a millennial and so sick of everyone thinking this woman owes us even more…what exactly have Beyonce, Britney, Whitney and Taylor done for their gay fans? Madonna has been with us long before anyone.
Madonna didn’t acknowledge the gays until after Guy?!!?…who da F* duh wat. Apparently you were too busy getting fisted on the top of the bar to lift your head up and pay attention to the history you think you’re such an expert at. Not only has she done more for the gay community (then most actual gays) from the very beginning of her career….and NOT because it made her more popular like the artists of today BUT she has actually lived the most fabulous LIFE of a gay man more than most gay men can ever dream of…FOR US (as in don’t EVER tell me what I can’t do or BE) If anything she acknowledges us less these past few years and quite frankly between what’s discussed in this article and whatever the hell you vomited up in your post who can blame her.
Actually, I have a limited edition Keith Haring silkscreen print on my bedroom wall, issued by the Keith Haring foundation and Gary Lichtenstein Editions.
I know who Keith Haring is sweetie, but thank you for your feedback.
Haha. Love it..and Keith Haring. I am a 52 year old “old queen” that’s never had botox, fillers, etc.. although I probably need it. I’ve never been to a circuit party and I’ve never been on Grindr, but I don’t judge anyone who partakes.
As long as people are good to themselves and others, I say more power to you, let people do what they want. And now I’m going to go listen to “Why’s It So Hard” by Madonna.
Have a nice day and thanks for your post.
Madonna would probably say “I´m not your bitch, don´t hang your shit on me”…
Ha! I tried to work that into the article! But decided not to ultimately but YES exactly! 🤣
Because they are evil….
This is a very well written article, that hits the proverbial nail on the head. I see the ageism towards Madonna from the gay community, and I might have even been guilty of it. It’s hard for people to have the truth of their behavior pointed out to them. Thanks for opening my eyes to the hypocrisy within our community.
Thank you sir 🙂
Being that most gay men are bitchy/gossipy/judgy right out of the womb it’s not much of a stretch to see the Karen come out when an icon doesn’t fit the narrative you’ve set out for them (and lest we forget would be the first to point out every new wrinkle if she was au natural) So I do agree with you there ALTHOUGH I still think the worst comments come from fellow women who can’t STAND her not sitting on a porch in a shawl knitting booties for the future grandkids….like them!
not negating madonna’s success or creativity – she’s clearly an icon – but i agree with the critics: she does NOT LOOK LIKE her airbrushed or filtered IG photos or press photos. She’s had photoshop done like most celebs – remember even the untouched photo leaks from hard candy era? It’s just that now, the photo touching doesn’t even come that close to how she REALLY LOOKS and i think that’s the issue people have. And while some people may like her evolving look, many think it looks very unnatural /unrecognizable- and compare it to cat lady, jessica alves and amanda lepore. she of course, has a right to go for an unnatural look – but people have a right to believe it’s unflattering. that aside, she’s still a great artist. i agree with writer that people can criticize harshly without thinking about how their words impact others – however, you can still like or love someone and not agree with, like or support everything they do (celebrities included)