If Madonna Were an Older Man: When Double-Standards Apply



Would she be held to the same standards? If not, why?

The article uses several celebrity examples of older men who seem to get away with certain behavior that Madonna would be skewered for.

The narrative here is that older women, in general, are held to completely different standards to that of older men.

Sometimes this is true, but not always, as I’ll explain.

First, an example of what you’ll read in the “bullet-pointed” article:

1: Harrison Ford, Private Plane Pilot. On March 5, the 72-year-old actor crashed his World War II-era plane. The story made headlines around the world, all honoring how well he managed to handle the accident and hoping for his speedy recovery.

Madonna’s Headline
No longer High, Flying or Adored, Madonna Crashes on the Runway and the Charts.

My Take: Madonna, in particular, set herself up for all of this.

Either she cannot see, or chooses to ignore, the reality that “25 and 55” are two different things.

While rock stars like Mick Jagger still rockin’ n’ rollin’, we’re all in on the fantasy.

Jagger has never pretended to deny – or in any way change public perception of – his age.

In the case of Madonna, it’s the other way around.

Her album covers are case studies in Photoshop overindulgence; her competitiveness with pop singers half her age the punch lines of every late night missive; and her incessant allusions to bedding young men is as cringe-worthy as biting a dry Popsicle stick.

With Madonna, it’s not about men and women being held to different standards, it’s about Madonna not coming to terms with reality as the rest of the world knows it.

The final 11 bullet points cite:

2] Paul Newman: Car Racing at 70. 

Madonna’s Headline
Bitch on Wheels: Desperate Madonna Still Thinks She’s in the Race

My Take: Again, this is not about age as much as it is about Madonna. Nobody ever beats up on older female triathletes. They applaud.

3] Iggy Pop, Shirtless at 67.

Madonna’s Headline
Icky Pop: GrandMadonna’s Topless Photo Looks Like a Map of the Old Stars Homes

My Take: Iggy Pop looks like a friggin’ monster as he did 30 years ago. No one’s ever disputed that. The fact that he’s preternaturally shredded only makes him a greater curiosity, not sex symbol.

4] Tom Cruise, Fencing at age 52.

Madonna’s Headline
Right of Light Saber: Madonna Learns How to, Literally, Stab Her Friends in the Back

My Take: They’re probably right about this one.

5] Russell Crowe, Knitting at age 50.

Madonna’s Headline
Unapologetic Stitch: Will Madonna Knit Baby Booties for Her Next Boyfriend?

My Take: This one reaches for a story it never quite lands.

6: Brad Pitt, Motorcycle Riding at age 51.

Madonna’s Headline
Motorcycle Mama’s Message to Her Children: Biking Is Fine!

My Take: If Madonna wants to ride motorcycles, nobody cares as long as she isn’t riding it in a tu-tu.

7: Sean Penn, Surfing at age 54

Madonna’s Headline
Drowned World: Madonna Desperately Tries to Stay Afloat

My Take: Not to hammer a point to oblivion, but if Madonna wants to resurrect herself, an acoustic guitar and her voice on stage would be enough to fill arenas anywhere.

8: Johnny Depp, Owning and Island at age 51.

Madonna’s Headline
From British to Bahamian, Madonna’s Un-American Ambitions

My Take: See #5 Russell Crowe.

9: Sting, Tantric Sex at age 63.

Madonna’s Headline
Chanteuse on the Loose: Madonna’s Sexual Stretch Marks

My Take: It is true that Madonna would be the laughing stock of the world if she were to publicize something like this in light of her recent missteps.

10: George Clooney, Sports at age 53.

Madonna’s Headline
No Longer in a League of Her Own, Madonna Strikes Out on the Playing Field, Dribbles in Public, and Chases After Tight Ends

My Take: If Madonna competed successfully in a triathlon, she would set an example for women her age. Instead, she expects people to just imagine her doing it, along with everything else.

11: Denzel Washington, Boxing at age 60

Madonna’s Headline
Former Musical Heavyweight Madonna Now Hits Below the Belt

My Take: If Madonna wanted to box, no one would care one iota.

12: Kevin Costner, Horseback Riding at age 60.

Madonna’s Headline
Madonna owns… wait, she fell off her horse in 2005, leaving her with a broken hand, busted collarbone and three cracked ribs. One very popular New York Newspaper wrote it…”Madonna Falls Off Her High Horse.”

My Take: I remember this story well, and again, Madonna is her own worst enemy.

When Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree or four-wheeler or whatever the hell happened to him in Hawaii, he got flowers and high-fives, not a tsunami of negative press because he’s cool being who the hell he is!

Bottom line:

The article is not about gender stereotypes.

It’s about Madonna…as usual.