Naomi Wolf’s Madonna crush


Madonna is “that forbidden thing, the Nietzschean creative woman.” I didn’t know this until I read journalist Naomi Wolf’s complaint about reporters who diss the Material Girl whenever she “steps out of her pretty-girl-pop-music bandwidth” to make a movie or book. “Why can the press just not wait to hate Madonna at these moments?” Wolf asked before answering her own question:

Because she must be punished, for the same reason that every woman who steps out of line must be punished. Madonna is infuriating to the mainstream commentariat when she dares to extend her range because she is acting in the same way a serious, important male artist acts. (And seizing the director’s chair, that icon of phallic assertiveness, is provocative as hell)…

What is so maddening? She does what every serious male artists does. That is: she doesn’t apologize for her talent or for her influence. What comes across quite profoundly when one interviews her is that she is preoccupied with her work and her gifts – just as serious male artists are, who often seem self-absorbed. She has the egoless honesty of the serious artist that reads like ego, especially in women.

Which planet is Naomi on? In my world, Madonna was a smart, willful girl who jumped on the disco bandwagon and transformed herself into a pop star admired for her cocky attitude and funky-but-chic aesthetic. She’s a good dancer/bad singer who’s still cranking out songs that sound like background music in a salon full of girls with tinfoil in their hair who are dreaming of steamy romantic encounters.

In Naomi’s world, the Material Girl’s music isn’t even mentioned. She’s an artist of “immense talent” who “does not apologize for her Nietzschean self or her appetites” (poor Friedrich must be spinning in his grave), or for her “astonishingly opulent home,” with its “discreet, stunningly handsome young male staffers, from all backgrounds – from the gorgeous chauffeur to the gorgeous security guard to the gorgeous fellow who brought in the sparkling water.”

Madonna at home sounds like the female version of Moammar Gaddafi. Are we supposed to be impressed?

Wolf wanted to say something about sexism, but I wish she’d at least chosen a worthier woman artist as a jumping off point for her bizarre polemic. Madonna was a trend setter — a cultural icon, even. But those songs! Almost without exception, they are cheap things — robotic little minor-key confections, tacky, melodramatic and mindless.

People who don’t like Madonna don’t want to punish her. They just don’t want to hear her, if possible.

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5 Responses to Naomi Wolf’s Madonna crush

  1. Pingback: Naomi Wolf’s Madonna crush

  2. Pingback: Naomi Wolf’s Madonna crush

  3. Ten Bears says:

    I like Naomi when she was a feminist. Now that she’s a faux anarchist with money in her pocket (trustfunder)… not so much.

  4. someofparts says:

    Didn’t Camile Paglia have a nitwit girl crush on Madonna too? Dunno. Far as that mansion staffed with premium beefcake young male staff – check out Betty White – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaHY7ReGsI0&feature=player_embedded

    I stopped paying attention to Naomi Wolf a long time ago too. Ten Bears has it about right.

    Also, aren’t there a fair number of women anymore who accomplish all sorts of amazing things and – hint, hint Naomi W – don’t get trashed about it because their work is so good? Of course there are.

  5. Lucy says:

    oh no no some of you have not wakened to the reality around you, yes they want to punish Madonna and any other woman who wants to break down societies demented ideals about women. I agree with Naomi. Being a woman in the working world in Canada and the US has been a tremendous and at times disgusting experience for me. We punish women for leaving their husbands, being successful, smart, speaking out. We all know the stats, single women are the poorest in the country which means that children are the poorest in the county and yes I’m talking about our beloved West: Canada and US. Is that alright with you? It’s not acceptable to me. But yet we struggle we struggle.

    After all did Rome not burn Madonna’s photos and forbid her to do a show there? Good for you Madonna for showing women how to stand up for themselves, although many are not ‘getting it’ yet>

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