Legendary singer Madonna was criticized on social media for her new take care of an look on the Grammys. Novelist Jennifer Weiner defends the artist’s “new face” as a fantastic provocation.


Madonna appears to know when she is about to trigger a stir.


MADONNA: Are you prepared for a bit controversy? Come on, folks. Let’s make some noise.

SUMMERS: That is the legendary singer on stage on the Grammys final week. She was there to introduce a efficiency, however she started by sharing some knowledge she’s discovered from 40 years within the highlight.


MADONNA: In the event that they name you surprising, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative or harmful, you might be positively on to one thing.

SUMMERS: The controversy, it turned out, could be Madonna herself – or extra exactly, her face, nearly unlined and glowing, framed by barely-there brows and pillowy lips. A barrage of social media criticism got here swiftly. Plastic surgeons have given tabloids their medical opinion on the work she’s had performed. And Madonna’s response – I’m caught within the glare of ageism and misogyny, she wrote on her Instagram. Nicely, for this week’s episode of The Take, we’ll look proper into that glare with a visitor who calls Madonna’s new face a fantastic provocation. We’re joined now by novelist Jennifer Weiner. Hello there.

JENNIFER WEINER: Hey. How are you doing?

SUMMERS: I am effectively. So that you wrote about this backlash in an op-ed for The New York Instances, and in it, you make the purpose that older feminine celebrities like Madonna discover themselves in a, quote, “unimaginable bind.” Inform me what you imply by that.

WEINER: Nicely, I believe that there’s actually no approach for ladies of a sure age to win. And I believe again to the Goldie Hawn line from “The First Wives Membership,” the place she talks in regards to the three ages of girls in Hollywood, the place it is babe, district legal professional and “Driving Miss Daisy.” And it simply looks like after you flip 45 or 50, you’ve got type of crossed the rubicon. And here is Madonna, who has managed to maintain herself within the dialog for all these years by reinventing herself over and again and again. And it simply appears to me that if a lady like that will get the form of backlash that she does, you already know, there’s simply not a lot hope for the remainder of us.

SUMMERS: You make this passing reference to an previous TV industrial from the ’50s for Clairol hair dye, which guarantees youthful hair with out gifting away the truth that you’ve got dyed it.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Does she or would not she? Does she or would not she? Within the softest candlelight or brightest celebration lights, hair colour by Ms. Clairol look so pure, solely her hairdresser is aware of for certain.

SUMMERS: And, you already know, it strikes me that this can’t be farther from the way in which that Madonna is managing her personal growing older within the public eye. Is she basically saying, do not disguise it? Sure, she does.

WEINER: Sure. And that was type of revolutionary, as a result of all all through historical past, whenever you’re speaking about aesthetic interventions, all the things needed to do with subtlety and secrecy. And that was by no means how Madonna did issues. She would present up with brilliant platinum hair with darkish roots, making it utterly apparent that the platinum was dye, or she’d put on underwear as outerwear, type of placing corsets and boning and push-up bras on show, the place beforehand these issues had all been hidden. So it was type of making an announcement about, do not I look nice? But in addition, hey; here is what went into that look. And that was a really revolutionary, provocative, totally different factor for a feminine performer to be doing.

SUMMERS: I imply, as you are saying this, I am interested by even my very own relationship to magnificence requirements. And there is this concept of girls, significantly older girls, however in some methods, girls of any age are anticipated to do all of these items to preen and polish their look. However you are not speculated to let anyone in on the entire minutes and hours of labor that goes into trying the way in which that you simply step out into the world.

WEINER: Yep. It’s invisible, unpaid labor that, such as you mentioned, it is a huge secret. And, you already know, the thought of like, does she or would not she, solely her hairdresser is aware of for certain – we’re all simply speculated to appear like the absolute best variations of ourselves each minute of each day. And nobody is meant to know, you already know, that you simply’re spending half an hour in your no-makeup make-up look.

SUMMERS: , all of this jogs my memory of this second from 2016, when Madonna is accepting the Billboard Girl of the 12 months award, and he or she has this to say. Let’s hear.


MADONNA: When you’re a woman, you need to play the sport. What’s that sport? You are allowed to be fairly and cute and attractive. However do not act too sensible. Do not have an opinion. And at last, don’t age as a result of to age is a sin. You may be criticized. You may be vilified. And you’ll positively not be performed on the radio.

SUMMERS: Jen, given the dialog that we have been having and what you simply heard from Madonna herself, do you assume that she knew form of precisely how this second was going to play out?

WEINER: It is a girl who’s been checked out for her total profession and has all the time been very, very intentional about the way in which she appears to be like, the way in which she presents herself, the issues she wears, the issues she says. And this is not the face you get in case you stroll right into a plastic surgeon’s workplace proper this minute and say, give me the most recent and the best. The consensus gave the impression to be that she appeared the way in which she did as a result of she’d had fillers. And ladies as of late are having fillers taken out. Courteney Cox very famously gave an interview to Individuals journal about having her fillers taken out. So I believe that it is a face that she knew didn’t look, quote-unquote, “pure” and completely was going to get folks speaking. And I consider she wished folks speaking, and he or she wished folks interested by the wonder sport and how one can play it and the way, for ladies, it simply turns into unwinnable at a sure level.

SUMMERS: You’ve got been difficult the favored notion of magnificence and of what makes a lady engaging since your first novel, “Good In Mattress,” got here out 22 years in the past. And Madonna has additionally been wrestling with this for many years. What do you make of the truth that how a lady appears to be like, how a lot she weighs, what she does together with her hair or her make-up or her face continues to be the topic of a lot debate and trolling and angst?

WEINER: Yeah. I imply, once I wrote “Good In Mattress,” I used to be single. I used to be bigger. And I had probably not seen plus-size girls depicted in well-liked tradition as something apart from the humorous greatest pal or the butt of a joke. And I wished to vary that. And with Lizzo on the market pushing the requirements and attempting to vary issues, I nonetheless assume it’s a lot simpler for ladies in smaller our bodies to succeed if we’re speaking about professions the place they’re considered. And I used to be single once I wrote “Good In Mattress” all of the – lo these a few years in the past. I am now the mom of two teenage daughters. And I so want the world was altering a bit bit sooner.

SUMMERS: That is creator and novelist Jen Weiner. Thanks for becoming a member of us.

WEINER: Completely. Thanks for having me.

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