By Lori Perkins
I know that post Grammy’s we should all be talking about the amazing women featured, as well as the first trans woman to perform on the Grammys (note: Wendy Carlos was the first trans Grammy recipient ever, who won three Grammys in 1968 for their electronic album Switched-on Bach) but I can’t stop thinking about Madonna’s new face. It haunts me.
I love Madonna, not necessarily for her music, but as a cultural icon and a shrieking voice for female sex positivity in the midst of capitalistic patriarchy (yes, my politics are bared for all to see). She did change our world, by using her body as an ever-altered canvas, and for the past decade she’s been quietly raging against the ageism of both the music industry and Hollywood. I’ve thought as she’s paraded around in pink underwear or posed in bizarrely provocative attire, “good for her.”
I recently had some extensive surgery that some people pay for under the banner of plastic surgery and realized that no amount of social bonus points and credits could ever make me want to undergo that knife voluntarily, so I come to this topic with a bias. I have firmly decided to let my face and my boobs and my ass age, as gracefully as New York City life permits.
And, as a feminist, I respect choice. Madonna’s choice is to chase the unlined baby face look, but I wish she didn’t feel she had to. She is such a powerful voice, and fairly unique in our social sphere. I fear she is playing in a fixed card game where she is trying for an inside straight, when she has a pair of Queens that always wins. I so want her to follow in the aging footsteps of Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, whose talent and genius was the draw, and not Michael Jackson, whose constantly altered face took the center stage.
After the Grammys Madonna released a statement where she more or less said, “let me be me.” And I do get it, but I wish she wanted to be less of an idealized version of herself. I liked her best when she had some edge. I’m hoping that this smoothed out version is just another alter ego and that her facial surgery is so fresh that it is swollen and will return to something that truly resembles the groundbreaker she is.