Why I stand with Madonna’s Fall

So Madonna fell over at the Brit Awards and we all laughed.

Giphy // Creative Commons
Giphy // Creative Commons

Time to move on?

Watching people fall over is funny. Even funnier when it’s a celebrity performing live on national television. Within minutes the internet was clogged with memes and vines, all mocking Madonna’s slip. I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect this.

What I didn’t expect was the huge hate backlash Madonna got for falling over. Now I’m no die-hard Madonna fan, but just a quick scroll through some of the hateful hashtags #shefellover and #Fallenmadonna had me seething.

Many comments viciously attacked Madonna for her age, suggesting she may need a hip replacement, or should take it as a sign to pack it in. I had no idea that your vocal cords stopped working at 50. Perhaps someone should be so kind as to tell Paul McCartney.

I didn’t think so. Not too long ago John Travolta made the infamous mistake of introducing Idina Menzel as Adele Dazeem. The internet blew up again, but did anyone make the joke of Travolta having Alzheimer’s? I didn’t think so. At 61, a whole five years older than Madonna, Travolta’s mistake may not have been as dramatic as Madonna’s yank off the stage from her cape, but reveals the vile misogyny that fuels the entertainment world.

A rape survivor and a victim of domestic abuse, Madonna is no stranger to misogyny, and she ended her performance on the Brit Awards with a dignified smile. I respect her for her courage to continue performing, knowing that her performance would only be remembered by her fall and not the hours spent rehearsing, planning and choreographing. It speaks for itself that Madonna’s fall was discussed more than any of the awards given that night.

We’re constantly exposed to the young fresh faces on the music scene, with pretty girls singing about pretty boys and pretty boys singing about pretty girls. There’s not a song in the charts about dealing with a mid-life crisis. The entertainment industry thrives on the promise of youth, as it always has done. The silver foxes slip through, but where are the aging women? Retired perhaps?

Are these women are being pushed out by their younger competition? The idea of pitting women against each other thrives in the entertainment world. When was the last time George Clooney was pitted against a younger model? The idea that women can only achieve success when they are ‘young’ and ‘pretty’ and full of promise is only born out of the concept that that is what the viewers want. How can the viewers want anything else when that is all the industry ever tells them? A woman past her prime performing tells the world that a woman past her prime is still wanted. On her 13th album, Madonna has even adapted her songs and her appearance to appeal to the world, but the world was expecting her to fail. Hating her music is one thing, but hating her for being a woman who dares to perform at the age of 56?

Not laughing now, are we?

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