Madonna had the honor of introducing Sam Smith and Kim Petras at the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 5, before their performance and she shouted out all the rebels and troublemakers in the music industry. Petras, who is trans, and Smith, who came out as nonbinary in 2019, made history as they took home an award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and gave a fiery performance of their song “Unholy.” Unfortunately, the focus of conversations on social media and elsewhere has been on Madonna’s appearance. Some folks insinuated that she altered her face with plastic surgery or other procedures. But not all the criticism was negative, as some empathized with Madonna and pointed out the pressures of being in the limelight for as long as she has.
But Madonna didn’t take the criticism lightly. On February 7, the pop icon shared some choice words in an Instagram video featuring several folks including Smith, Petras, Cardi B, and more. The video showed Madonna interacting with the stars, but it’s her lengthy caption where all the meat resides.
She started by expressing how she initially wanted to present the award for Album of the Year, but thought it would be more meaningful to introduce Petras and Smith’s performance. Madonna noted that folks should have been more invested in her speech rather than zooming in on her face, adding that most folks would look distorted if a photographer took similar photos of them, captioning her video, “Many people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me taken with a long lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone’s face!!”
She said that the criticism of her appearance was ageism and misogyny and that there is truly no winning for women as they age. “Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in. A world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45 and feels the need to punish her if she continues to be strong-willed, hard-working, and adventurous,” the caption reads.
The pop star, who has been in the limelight since the ’80s, is all too familiar with criticisms of her appearance. “I have been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career,” she writes. Despite both earnest concern and harsh critiques, Madonna seems determined to continue living as unapologetically as she always has.