Madonna is no stranger to courting controversy. In a glittering pop career stretching across four very different decades, the singer has led the way with her music, videos, fashion choices, and lashings of New York attitude.
This week, she once again threw a very racy cat amongst the social media pigeons, by posting highly revealing shots of herself to Instagram. In them, she writhed on a bed wearing fishnets and a strapped leather corset, revealed a breast, bumped and ground, and generally summoned the stuff of X rated fantasies in the guise of her latest incarnation, Madame X.
At 63, she looked remarkable – though those scrolling were quick to point out that alongside her tireless gym workouts, Madonna may have been turning to both Botox and Photoshop for her results.
Not everyone, however, was delighted with the shots. Earlier this week, the star came under fire for posing with a lethal-looking knife on the shoot for V Magazine. One image showed the photographer, Steven Klein, holding it with the tip at her throat.
Madonna also captioned the image: ‘…thanks to all who worked…for free,’ (on the shoot) drawing intense criticism for not paying workers, alongside opprobrium for the ‘rape culture’ photo.
Undeterred, however, the singer, who insists that the shoot is ‘art’, went on to post a series of freshly revealing images, in which she gripped an iron bed frame and posed legs akimbo in fishnet tights and glossy Christian Louboutin high heels.
The final shot of the series of ten showed her under a bed, only her wide-apart legs and bottom on view.
She captioned the pictures ‘Angel watching over Me’ in reference to an angel ornament on the white wall above the bed.
The pictures received over 1.092 million likes, and almost 50 000 comments, and sparked a storm of debate on both Instagram and Twitter.
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Not everyone was keen on the soft-porn style shoot. One fan demanded, “What are you doing?” with laughter emojis, another said “I miss the pre-implants and Botox Madonna.”
One commentator snarked, “Honey, I think the angel flew off a long time ago,” and another followed up with: “Must’ve lost her dignity under the bed. Lol.”
The vitriol was acute as another suggested “instead of doing ridiculous pictures, do some quality music as you used to do” while one Dowager Countess (maybe) added “Having some self respect at this age will suit you better.”
Madonna’s age was regularly noted. While many claimed to be anti-ageism, clearly the sight of a woman over 60 cavorting with her clothes off was disturbing to many.
“Stop showing your ass,” advised one fan, “We’ve seen plenty of it with the Sex books and it was brave then. Now it’s just classless and it has nothing to do with your age.”
Over on Twitter, the wits were out.
“Madonna and I are exactly the same age. I assume she’s searching for her phone charger,” one commented, while another remarked, “Madonna, I love you hun, but your photoshop lad has got to go. He’s got you looking like a Boohoo Boxing Day sale advert.”
A further Tweeter said, “Mrs Ciccone knows help is coming,” in a nod to the old advert for personal alarms showing an old lady after a fall.
Many referred to the pictures as ‘sad’ and ‘a desperate cry for attention’.
And Piers Morgan, no stranger to controversy himself, simply captioned the ‘under the bed’ photo with ‘Rock bottom.’
However, not everyone was aghast at the singer’s daring. Thousands of adoring fans swamped the singer’s accounts with positive comments including, “The fact Madonna is 63 and still looks 40 is ****ing crazy”, and another raved “Eternally glowing!”
Others were reduced to simply posting rows of flame emojis.
One supporter wrote “She’s a grown ass woman with an amazing body, real or fake, let her show it off!”
Though as she sets social media aflame once again, it’s pretty clear that one thing Madonna has never needed is permission.
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