Before it became a mouthpiece for right-wing extremists, I remember reading a newspaper that had an article that began with, “Navels are in. Which means that they are out.” It then devoted half a page to writing about them and asked numerous women why they wore crop tops. The reasons ranged from one woman who wore them not for any particular reason, just because they suited her, to the weather is hot and the tops are cool to two women, one of whom said she had worn them for ages, long before they became popular and she thought it was a great look and you had a good stomach why not show it off. The other said that she wore them because she liked to show off her tummy, but that couldn’t be the only reason for doing it. Well, the latter part is right, and I say, if she is proud of her tummy and she wants to show it off, that’s her right and no, it does NOT give entitled males the right to grope her!
When Madonna was about four, the censors were outraged and demanded that Barbara Eden cover her navel in “I Dream Of Jeannie” with a strip of cloth, declaring it too raunchy. In her autobiography, one of the last pages had a picture of her captioned, “Baring my belly button at last,” in 1982. By that time, Madonna had entered the pop scene and was wearing bras over her tops, and she later revealed her navel. Madonna was quoted as saying that her “favorite button is her belly button.”
Much has been made by many about Madonna having plastic surgery and it reveals two things. Men such as Richard Gere and George Clooney are still viewed as sex symbols despite or because of their grey hair, yet when a woman ages, she is typecast into older roles. Compare this to Dame Helen Mirren, who, when photographed in her red bikini in Italy, 15 years ago, was condemned by some, yet she hadn’t had plastic surgery. The Italians and the Greeks are so much more advanced than the British or the Americans regarding this, as one Australian writer mentioned in a magazine article and a British travel writer in another. Despite some more traditional older Italian widows wearing black from when their husband dies until their own death, it is not uncommon at a pool which the Australian writer visited or a beach in Greece to find three or even four generations of women in the same family, with the great-grandmother, aged 86, the grandmother, aged 63, the mother, aged 41 and the daughter aged 16, all in bikinis, and no concern about cellulite or caesarian scars, and the grandmother and great-grandmother with naturally grey hair.
Older male artist, Tom Jones, has had makeovers like Madonna, and I remember when I was 13, my father wanted to listen to him on the radio, but my brother said it was boring, and the following year, Tom Jones did a cover version of Kiss with The Art of Noise.
Unlike a guy I went to school with, whose father was a devoted Elvis fan (his father wanted to call him Elvis, but his mother wouldn’t let him, and as Elvis’s second name was Aaron, his wife said that he could call him that), I came to like Elvis after going with my mother to buy an Elvis cassette for my father for his birthday. Many a teenager, especially one who doesn’t fit into the typical teenager mould, as I didn’t, comes to like the music of their parents’ generation. As much as I admit that Old Shep makes me tear up, I do like Elvis’s other music. I know some young women who like British singer Jane McDonald, because their mothers do.
I remember Madonna singing Material Girl and I remember the lyrics, “Some boys kiss me, Some boys hug me, I think they’re okay,” and she goes on to say that “We are living in a material world, And I am a material girl.” I also remember her song, “Papa Don’t Preach,” about a young woman who has become pregnant outside wedlock and how she was keeping the baby and that the baby’s father was good to her. Now she seems to have become a product of what she seemed to be rebelling against.
Lilly Allen, whatever you think of her, had a song where she said, “The sad part is true, How society says, Her life is already over.” Madonna may not have wanted her life to be already over, but what many people discover is, if you go changing to try to please others, the people who genuinely liked the person you were before you changed no longer like you. Will that be the case regarding Madonna? Only time will tell.