The problem with Madonna
While I was training at the gym the other day there were big screen TV’s playing music videos in the background. Music video’s nowadays seem to be a copy and paste experience which have one underlying theme and marketing plan - sex sells. It’s hard to tell the videos apart as they all seem to merge into the same visual experience, obviously it works because everyone is doing it.
While I was working through my training one of the latest videos from Madonna hit the screen, now if anyone has ever understood the value of selling sex - Madonna has. From the early 80’s through to the mid 2000’s Madonna was one of the most successful musicians on the planet, she seemed to have an amazing ability to push the boundaries of what was accepted in mainstream music media and had a massive influence on millions of people around the world. She has been admired for her ability to continually reinvent herself throughout her career.
Madonna built a career on video’s that were different, risqué and shocking to some. As I watched her latest clip I noticed that it stood out from the carbon copy video’s that are so common today. The thing was, it was standing out for reasons that Madonna may have not have been aiming for. Once again Madonna was selling sex, wearing a suggestive outfit surrounded by young, fit, cool looking men and while the message that was trying to be portrayed was clear, in my head I was thinking, I’m not sure if the older Madonna can pull off these videos anymore. Madonna is an example of someone who has worked hard to keep fit and in shape over the years but there’s something about a 55 year old who is using sex appeal to target a youth market that takes the shine off the message.
To me, Madonna represents one of the biggest battles of the modern age. How do we deal with aging in a time when there is a disproportionate amount of attention on the importance of youth? Accepting age is one of the biggest internal battles that a lot of us face. While I’m sure this has been true throughout the history of humanity, in these modern times it seems that it is a lot harder to do as there are so many messages out there enforcing that we should be trying our best to stay youthful.
When I think about Madonna I wonder to myself, who is she trying to appeal to? I’m not sure if my 16 year old daughter is ever going to see Madonna as an influence like she was in the 80’s and 90’s. I’m sure that most of Madonna’s market nowadays is in the 30+ range, so why keep trying to sell yourself to appeal to the youth market?
One battle that we are guaranteed to lose in life is the loss of our youthful image, it’s impossible to win this one. Sure with some cosmetic techniques we can hold on for a longer period of time but eventually we are going to look older, its inevitable. If all of our energy goes into trying to stay looking young and that’s the main way we feel good about ourselves, we are heading down a dangerous path.
While the days pass by and we move further away from our youthful years we have an amazing opportunity to gain something that youth doesn’t provide, wisdom. We have learnt about life and we can develop our minds to a greater understanding of what this world has to offer. It’s not that we shouldn’t look after ourselves and care about our image but it’s important that we spend just as much time, if not more, developing our mind, developing our wisdom.
We want to develop ourself to appeal to intellect, experience, and exploration of self. When the wrinkles start to take over and gravity starts to win it’s battle this development will pay off because you feel good about the wisdom you have gained and you’ll see that you can gain so much more.
One of the most powerful music videos of all time is Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’. Check out any ‘greatest video’s of all time’ list and this will be up the top. In the video you see an old man not far from death, revealing all of himself. It’s spine tingling and it makes me think. When I watch Madonna’s latest video I have no connection with it yet when I watch Johnny Cash’s video I reflect, I question myself, I’m spellbound by his honesty, I feel the wisdom from someone who is old and has so much to offer. The wisdom that youth can never offer.
You can see the Johnny Cash Hurt video here:
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