Iconic pop star Madonna unloaded on the New York Times on Thursday, declaring that she felt “raped” by what she described as the paper’s sexist coverage of her in a recent profile titled “Madonna at Sixty,” written by Vanessa Grigoriadis. The paper’s focus on her age and “trivial and superficial matters,” Madonna said, was “further proof ” that it’s “one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy.”
The singer issued her rebuke in an Instagram post on Thursday. “Madame on the cover of N.Y.T. Magazine photographed by my dear friend @jr. Also sharing my fav photo that never made it in, along with pre-shoot chat and a celebratory glass of wine after many hours of work!” she wrote in reference to an image she posted from the shoot for the profile.
She then pivoted to her blistering criticism of the “patriarchal” paper and what she said was its sexist coverage of her, despite the author being a woman. “To say that I was disappointed in the article would be an understatement,” she wrote (post edited for clarity). “It seems you can’t fix society and its endless need to diminish, disparage or degrade that which they know is good. Especially strong independent women.”
“The journalist who wrote this article spent days and hours and months with me and was invited into a world which many people don’t get to see, but chose to focus on trivial and superficial matters such as the ethnicity of my stand-in or the fabric of my curtains and never ending comments about my age which would never have been mentioned had I been a MAN!” she continued.
The performer then addressed the fact that the interviewer was a female. “Women have a really hard time being the champions of other women even if they are posing as intellectual feminists,” she said. “I’m sorry I spent 5 minutes with her.”
She then dropped her “raped” reference: “It makes me feel raped,” she wrote. “And yes I’m allowed to use that analogy having been raped at the age of 19.”
In its coverage of Madonna’s complaint, The Wrap notes that she has been “outspoken about being raped when she had just moved to New York, having previously discussed the attack in a 1995 interview and a 2007 biography, as well as in a Harper’s Bazaar essay.“
The profile, said Madonna, is “[f]urther proof that the venerable N.Y.T. Is one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy.” She concluded by declaring her dedication to tearing down the patriarchy. “And I say — DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY woven deep into the fabric of society. I will never stop fighting to eradicate it.”
So are Madonna’s criticisms of the Times warranted? Here’s how the profile begins:
The night before the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May, Madonna was sitting in the arena attached to the MGM Grand hotel, staring at a double of herself. The double, who was standing on the stage many yards away, was younger and looked Asian but wore a similar lace minidress and a wig in Madonna’s current hairstyle, a ’30s movie star’s crimped blond waves. “It’s always the second person with the wig — she wants to see it,” a stage designer said, adding that when she makes a decision, she is definitive. “Madonna wants 10 options, but when she says it’s the one, it’s the one.”
Madonna was observing Madonna to make sure Madonna was doing everything perfectly. Up on the stage set of a funky urban street with lampposts and a tiled bar, the double hit her marks and held a fist up to her mouth like a faux microphone for a rendition of “Medellín,” the on-trend, Latin-inflected song that Madonna would be singing. Madonna looked at a TV and assessed the augmented-reality part of the show, in which four additional virtual Madonnas, one playing an accordion and another dressed like a bride, would materialize in the televised awards performance out of thin air. Nearby, guys bowed heads and said cryptic things like “Where’s the digital key?” and “I need the alpha channel” to one another, tensely.
All the fake Madonnas ran through the song a few times before Madonna skipped enthusiastically to the stage. The sex bomb at 60 was slightly less than bionic and wore a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted patch over her left eye (“It’s fashion, darling,” an onlooker explained when I asked why she chose to wear it). Afterward, Madonna mused about something being off, and the next time she messed up the part where she stood on a table and gyrated her legs in and out in a move called “the butterfly” while popping her head in each direction. But by the third run-through she seemed ecstatic. “It’s so nice to see her smile,” Megan Lawson, a choreographer, said from under a black bolero hat, “and have it be a genuine smile.”
Madonna’s Instagram post below: