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Trolls Mocking Madonna’s ‘Unfiltered’ Photos Reveal The Ugly Truth About How We View Women In Their 60s

Photo: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock / Instagram
Trolls Mocking Madonna’s ‘Unfiltered’ Photos Reveal The Ugly Truth About How We View Women In Their 60s

Madonna has been under public scrutiny recently after the release of "unfiltered" paparazzi photos that show the 63-year-old Queen of Pop with a different appearance than what has been seen in the singer's recent Instagram photos.

As the photos made their way through the tabloids, journalists commented on her drastically different physical appearance, adding to an ongoing and problematic rhetoric around Madonna's looks.

Madonna has been fighting against ageism for decades — and this is no different than before.

Madonna posts on Instagram regularly but rarely escapes mockery.

On nearly every Instagram post where you can see a clear image of her face there are concerned fans begging the question of why she feels the need to use filters and photoshop herself.

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“Why are we acting like it’s normal for her to edit her photos this much?” reads a comment on one of her posts from a few weeks ago. “This feels beyond f---ing weird and uncomfortable.”

Some fans aren’t convinced that the photos are being edited and have simply chalked up her looks to be the work of plastic surgery, but some of the photos are undeniably edited — even causing fans to say she looks like a teenager.

“Who is this 17-year-old girl?” and “Who tf is this 14 year old? What have you done with Madonna??” are just two of the comments that Madonna has received for her recent antics and photo edits.

Fans can be seen in her comment sections waging war against each other about her looks, dividing between “she’s allowed to do whatever she wants” and “she shouldn’t feel the need to do this.”

Yet, there is an inherent hypocracy in these comments because the singer has also been targetted for not "acting her age."

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Often vilified for being overtly sexual and refusing to subscribe to societal expections, Madonna has neither been given the right to embrace youth nor grow old in a way that she would like to.

Last year, 46-year-old rapper 50 Cent joined in on the ageism directed at Madonna, mocking a photo she posted of herself lying under a bed and showing off her legs.

"LOL. That’s Madonna under the bed trying to do like a virgin at 63. she shot out, if she don’t get her old ass up. LMFAO," he wrote.

50 Cent, as a man in the entertainment industry, would of course have no clue what it is like to be hit with these kinds of cruel comments.

And though he received plenty of blowback from Madonna and her friends, his comments reflect a wider culture of shaming women and denying women of a certain age their right to their sexuality.

Madonna has always pushed back against ageism.

After a risque photoshoot she did last month was removed from Instagram, Madonna once against addressed the many people who have condemned her looks.

“It is still astounding to me that we live in a culture that allows every inch of a woman’s body to be shown except a nipple,” she wrote. “As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualized.”

The photos she had originally posted were taken down because of her exposed nipple, but she goes a little deeper into the larger issue at hand.

“Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship…… sexism……ageism and misogyny,” she wrote, revealing that she has suffered from all of these things in her years as a celebrity and may continue to suffer from them.

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Women in the public eye suffer a lot from societal pressure and as one Twitter user put it, it seems like Madonna has been hit with a lot more of that pressure.

In addressing other women in pop culture who are considerably older and just as loved, she writes “just wondering why Madonna's 63 is so much more offensive to people than another artist's 75 or 82.”

Women like Dolly Parton and Cher, both older than Madonna, don't seem to get the same kind of criticism as the pop singer. Perhaps because they have aged in a way that is, for some reason, deemed acceptable.

After winning Woman of the Year at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music Awards, Madonna gave a speech in which she talks about her fights against all of the things mentioned above, and especially gives a word about her age and ageism.

“And finally, do not age,” she said towards the end of her speech. “Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio.”

Over the years, she has talked about how she has been treated unfairly for aging as well as for her persistence to stay relevant and popular, which could be a large part of the reason she’s behaving in the way she is now.

“People say I’m controversial," she said in her speech. "But I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around."

At the end of the day, Madonna is likely to continue doing whatever she wants without letting anything slow her down.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.

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