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Madonna on Ageism: “I’m Going to Keep Fighting It. People Are Going to Shut Up”

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It’s your Quote of the Day.

Madonna sat down with Vulture to talk butt masks (don’t ask), her love of Malawi, and – particularly interesting – how to fight ageism.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

You’ve been vocal about saying we need to fight ageism. How do we do it?
We need role models. People are afraid of things they don’t know and that are unfamiliar. Women have a different place in the world now. We’re finding more work and fighting for more gender equality in the workplace. As we do that, we should keep working on not only our career but on ourselves. It’s about staying curious, staying alive, and working on making ourselves feel good whether it’s through exercise,skin care, etc. There are no rules.

It’s an outdated, patriarchal idea that a woman has to stop being fun, curious, adventurous, beautiful, or sexy past the age of 40. It’s ridiculous. Why should only men be allowed to be adventurous, sexual, curious, and get to have all the fun until the day they leave this earth? Why should that only be the domain of men? How do we fight this? By standing up to men and by standing up to social mores or standards that say we cannot. The more women that do it, it will just be a matter of time.

In the beginning of my career, I got so much flak for using sexuality as part of my creativity and was called a sexual provocateur. Now, all the challenges that I had to face 20 years ago seem ludicrous. What I am going through now is ageism, with people putting me down or giving me a hard time because I date younger men or do things that are considered to be only the domain of younger women. I mean, who made those rules? Who says? I’m going to keep fighting it. Ten to 20 years from now, it’s going to be normal. People are going to shut up.

When people talk about getting older, particularly when it comes to women, they use words like “battling” or “fighting” or doing it “gracefully.” How would you describe your approach?
I don’t think about an approach to aging. I just think about my approach to life. I don’t do anything different than I used to do. I keep going. I continue being creative and working. I write, travel the world, am adventurous, curious, learn, and I seek knowledge. I listen to my children, I pay attention to them, and I see the world through their eyes. All those things keep you youthful.

I never think I am fighting age. I’m just continuing on with my life as I always have. I’ve never gotten complacent. I’ve never gotten comfortable. I keep pushing myself into uncomfortable positions and taken risks. I moved to Lisbon with my four children. I could have stayed in NYC with my comfortable life, but I didn’t. If you keep putting yourself in challenging, new adventurous situations, then you keep yourself alive and youthful.

Big thumbs up to all of this. But the real takeaway? When did she move to Portugal and how did I not know this?

(Photo: Pacific Coast News)

 


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