Oh, do give it a rest, Madonna. At 53, all you're exposing is your desperation
08:56 GMT, 12 June 2012
Watching Madonna live on stage in Istanbul was a little like being assaulted by the cast of Dad’s Army performing a Chippendales routine.
Madonna, who is 53 years old and a mother several times over, stripped off, flashing her right breast at the audience.
Do we really need to see superannuated former sex symbols flaunting their erogenous zones
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH A VIDEO CLIP OF MADONNA'S PERFORMANCE
Exposed: The 53-year-old showed off her bare nipple to a crowd of over 55,000 people
Express yourself, don't repress yourself! Madonna causes controversy as she flashes her boob during a performance in Istanbul
Provocative: Madonna covered up her nipple after exposing it and then began cavorting with a half-naked male dancer
I had thought the close-up, slow panning by BBC cameramen of sixty-something Grace Jones’s oiled thighs and scantily-covered crotch at the Jubilee concert was bad enough.
But the flaunting by Madonna of her right nipple on stage in Turkey really took the biscuit.
Of course, Madonna doesn’t eat biscuits, or drink tea, or wear clothes, or any of the normal things women over 50 have time to do now The Hormone Years are behind them.
She thinks she is being shocking when, in fact, she is being boring. We’ve seen it all before.
Madonna is determined to convince us and herself that being in her sixth decade does not mean she is no longer a sexual, desirable being.
Well, I’m sorry, love, but it does. It’s over. The referee has blown his whistle and the chequered flag has come down.
Lost in the music: Madonna pulled her shirt open as she performed her 1995 hit
Flashing her figure: Madonna then threw her shirt to the stage, revealing a lacy black bra, before continuing with her dance routine
You might think I’m all for women in their 50s acting as though they are in their raunchy, carefree 20s, given that I’ve had a face lift.
I haven’t flashed my nipples, but I did have them relocated and made smaller and darker by breast reduction surgery when I was 30.
Surely that was done with the expectation that someone, somewhere would look at them at some point.
I applaud the fact Madonna has not let herself go: it takes hard work and dedication to look as she does. But even she can’t hold back the ravages of time — and most people’s reaction to those pictures will be ‘ugh’ rather than ‘phwoar’.
Bluntly, nudity at the age of 53 is not just gratuitous, it’s gruesome. Should I have written that last sentence Probably not.
I wrote once about how all the (now grey) hairs on my chin and throat, which I used to know intimately, had moved after the face lift, like tiny fir trees in an avalanche. I had to locate and get to know them all over again, in order to pluck them out each morning.
Gone all coy: The singer turned away from the crowd before unzipping her trousers
Giving them something to remember: The Girl Gone Wild singer ripped off part of her bra
And back on again: One of Madonna's backing dancers then helped her redress at the end of her strip
I was inundated with emails from women, saying I had let the side down. ‘Now my husband wants to know if I have fir trees!’ wrote one. ‘They don’t need to know about this stuff!’
Is it better if older women feel we should believe the illusion and measure up to Madonna, who strains every nerve and sinew to convince the world she’s a bendier, feistier, leaner, better version of her young self
Or should we talk about such things as grey pubic hair, varicose veins and fir trees, so that women who age don’t feel quite so isolated and disgusted by what is happening to their body I’m still not sure.
I was fascinated when Tracey Emin talked about going through the menopause in a recent interview.
Ooh, and how about Cambridge professor Mary Beard, who talked about her own thickened toenails on Woman’s Hour
These are the badges of honour that indicate the tumult of being a young woman is well and truly over, but that also show you are a survivor.
Yes, you become invisible over the age of 50, but you can also find new rewards. I will list some of the new rewards here, as soon as I can think of some.
Lethal weapon: In another scene Madonna and her dancers are armed with guns during her MDNA 2012 World Tour at Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel
Less controversial: Madonna also wore some more conservative outfits during the concert
Oh, OK, the nurturing hormones have long since vaporised, which means you no longer run round after men, doing stuff for them, and you have less patience with nonsense. And that’s about it.
Part of me wants women to know we all share the same biological, gynaecological decrepitude.
And if Madonna is out there, grinding her pelvis, placing both legs, pretzel fashion, behind her head and flashing her breasts, aren’t we being given the idea that all of us women over 50 could look like she does if only we had the time/money/energy
Having wrestled arthritically with this question for years now, I’ve come to the conclusion that holding up very rich, very manicured versions of women our age is dangerous.
Not to everyone — not to women in happy marriages with teenage children and a pension — but to those of us for whom life hasn’t quite panned out as we thought it would.
Surely Madonna’s highly sexualised example not only means women continue to spend money on stuff (skin cream, Botox, skirts from Topshop), but that we are never satisfied with how we look.
I wondered, the other day, whether I will still be having full leg and Brazilian waxes when I’m 60 (I doubt I’ll be able to afford them).
How strange it would be to subject myself to that then. But is it any stranger than doing it now, aged 53
Madonna also caused controversy with her 1989 Like A Prayer video, which featured the singer seducing a black Jesus to a backdrop of burning crosses
The video for Like A Prayer sparked a huge public outcry and was condemned as blasphemous by the Vatican
Surely, women like me have to be deluded to wax ourselves so that we resemble an adolescent: Madonna is both victim and perpetrator, as am I.
Just as anorexia assaults the most susceptible young women, the ones with low self-esteem who do not live in a bubble of love and family support, a desire to look young assaults those of us who feel we are not ready to grow old.
I’m a case in point. I don’t have a stable, loving relationship, I don’t have children, I am not where I want to be in my career, and so I feel my body is racing ahead of me. I need more time.
My surgery, my self-assault, was more about being acceptable to myself, not about attracting a man. I don’t have a problem with not being sexy or attractive to men, because I have never been sexy or attractive to men. It’s not something I miss.
Madonna clearly misses it. It’s what defines her look — that whole platinum blonde, Marilyn Monroe schtick –— and her lyrics, her videos, her clothes, her little-girl voice.
Brigitte Bardot, much ridiculed for her Shar Pei skin, doesn’t miss it because she found something else: a love for animals.
Of course it’s great that, at 50, we don’t resemble our own mothers at that age.
But Nipplegate is an act too far, a wake-up call, a mirror to my own and many others’ ridiculousness.
That is what made Madonna’s latest striptease so pitiful: the hole was not in her lace bra, but in her soul.
NOW WATCH THE VIDEO: Madonna flashes her nipple to the crowd in Istanbul
VIDEO: Preview of Madonna's MDNA Tour