“Is it harder for women in the industry in general? Definitely. I was trying to make a case for Madonna the other day, saying that she’s to be admired for her longevity in a genre that has mostly been for younger acts. Men are able to sustain a career into their 50s and 60s and still present themselves as sex symbols. With women on the other hand, people say, ‘Why doesn’t she retire?’ It’s just so unfair. So I have to give props to Madonna.”
– folk singer Tracy Chapman in The Guardian.
Amen, Tracy. This is a subject that fascinates my friends (including many gay boys) and me. Why do people say Madonna, at 50, is too old to be a pop star? Is the cut-off age different for a woman? Look at 65-year-old Mick Jagger, 67-year-old Bob Dylan, and 61-year-old Elton John. All of those guys are admired for continuing to make music and tour.
Madonna’s vilianized for it.
I once read a review (written by a man) of a No Doubt show that suggested Gwen Stefani at 35 (when this was written), was too old to sing “Just A Girl.”
Have men also determined the age when a woman can no longer identify herself as a girl?
Does it go both ways?
Should Roger Daltrey no longer sing “I’m A Boy”? He dusts of his creaky old bones every few years and tours. Should we tell him to stop? He’s 64.
This notion, that it’s embarrassing for older women to continue to perform and make music, is so ingrained in our culture. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve heard about how “gross” Madonna is for continuing to package herself as a sex symbol now that she’s hit the big 5-0.
Which is funny, because she looks like she could be Mick Jagger’s daughter. Not that it should matter.
You got an opinion on this?