Madonna Blasts Grammys Mockery of Her Appearance

Madonna lashed out at viewers, journalists and societal norms on Tuesday after the 2023 Grammy Awards. The 64-year-old pop legend appeared on stage during the Grammys to introduce Kim Petras and Sam Smith for their performance of "Unholy," and close-up photos of Madonna's face went viral in the following days. Madonna accused those mocking her of misogyny and ageism, and lamented that her speech about Petras and Smith was overshadowed in the process.

Madonna posted a video on Instagram on Tuesday that showed her backstage with several of the night's biggest stars – a personal highlight reel featuring Cardi B, Petras and Smith, among others. She wrote that it was "an honor" to introduce Petras and Smith that night, adding: "I wanted to give the last award which was Album of the year, but I thought it was more important that I present the first trans-woman performing at the Grammys- a History making moment!! And on top of that she won a Grammy!!"

"Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim- 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!!" Madonna went on. "Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny That permeates the world we live in."

Madonna wrote that our society "refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45" and even punishes them for being "strong-willed, hard-working and adventurous." She drew a through-line in her own career from the 1980s up until now, arguing that the mockery of her appearance and her wardrobe is not much different from the sensationalized coverage she received when she first broke onto the scene.

"I have been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career but I understand that this is all a test and I am happy to do the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come," she wrote. "I look forward to many more years of subversive behavior -pushing boundaries-Standing up to the patriarchy -and Most of all enjoying my life."

Most fans seemed to assume that Madonna was responding to one particular viral tweet from the day before – a post where the author of a book about cryptocurrency put Madonna's close-up photo from the Grammys side-by-side with a photo of her own mother. She felt that her mother was an example of "letting yourself age gracefully" while Madonna exemplified "plastic surgery."

Madonna has previously taken an ambiguous stance on cosmetic surgeries, saying she does not believe stars should be expected to discuss the topic publicly. Many other stars have followed her example by avoiding that discussion and asserting a right to some privacy and dignity. Madonna's post has picked up over half a million likes this week, and it's clear most commenters are on her side.