When Madonna kissed Drake

After Madonna kissed Drake at Coachella a couple weeks ago, there were numerous articles, news stories, and memes circulating about it.  Many were making fun of it because of Drake’s reaction and Madonna’s age.  There were different groups of people with different takes on the event.  Some found it hilarious, some made fun of Madonna for being old, some thought “Who cares?” and some claimed that it was sexual assault.  I would like to think that I fall into the category of “Who cares?” but the fact that I’m writing about it would prove otherwise.

The first thing I noticed about people’s reactions was that so many people were commenting on Madonna’s age.  Even before the kiss, people had been commenting on her age.  When she announced her Rebel Heart tour, I saw posts and comments from people saying that she should retire and that she’s too old to be performing.  One could argue that her performance at Coachella and the fact that she had Drake be a part of that performance was part of her attempt to stay relevant and maintain shock value to an audience who questions her ability to do so.  In response to the kiss, people said things like “50 shades of granny” and called her geriatric and an old lady.  I didn’t think it made sense for people to refer to her as a senior citizen, when she is only 56.  People have pointed out to me that 55 is sometimes regarded as the age where one becomes a senior, but for me I’ve always though that began at 65.  Either way, I would never refer to someone in their 50’s as a senior citizen, and doing so would never really be regarded as a compliment.

I actually kind of want to see Madonna in concert, because I never have, and to me she is an icon, one of those people you just have to see in your lifetime.  I don’t care that she’s “old”.  My favourite concerts that I’ve been to were to see performers who you might consider “old”.  Earlier this year, I saw Bryan Adams, who is 55.  It was an amazing concert.  No one thought he was too old, in fact, he was better than ever.  I also saw Fleetwood Mac, whose members are mostly in their 60’s and it was awesome.  Last year I saw Cher, who is 68, Elton John, who is also 68, and Paul Simon & Sting, who are 73 and 61.  All these concerts were great and I’m glad these artists are still performing.  Next week, I am going to see Neil Diamond, who is 74.  Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a ticket for Madonna’s concert.  I was hoping she would announce a second show in Vancouver like she did in Edmonton, but that didn’t end up happening.

It seems like with older male artists, there isn’t that stigma of age and expected retirement.  No one says they should stop making music just because they’re older now.  I admit, that 80’s Madonna will always be my favourite Madonna and I’m not a huge fan of her current songs.  But that doesn’t mean that she should stop making music just because her best hits might be behind her.  I don’t really like any of today’s music by artists in general, young or old, as you can probably tell by the concerts I’ve attended in the last little while.

People have different viewpoints regarding the aspect of ageism and sexism when it comes to Madonna’s performance at Coachella.  Often times when a situation occurs, we tend to speculate about how things would be different if the genders of the individuals involved were reversed?  Like how I think that a male performer over 50 would not be ridiculed as much as a female.  Some people who claim Madonna kissing Drake was sexual assault, say that it has nothing to do with age or gender, and is fully about consent. I’ve heard arguments about how if an older man were to kiss a younger female in that manner, people wouldn’t be laughing at the situation, and instead would be outraged.  I’ve heard references to John Travolta’s behaviour at the Oscars, where many, including myself, believe that he came across as creepy when interacting with Idina Menzel and Scarlett Johanssen.  I would argue that that wasn’t about his age or his gender, and that his behaviour did just genuinely seem odd.  Even if he touched the face of an older woman, it would have seemed creepy.  And it wasn’t part of a performance.

I think back to the VMA’s a couple years ago with Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance.  I feel like while they were both judged for it, Miley was criticized more so for her behaviour, in this instance where it was a performance with a young woman and and older man.  Although, I realize that Miley was performing and twerking, whereas Drake was just sitting in a chair.  When I think about the issue of consent in relation to Madonna kissing Drake, I am reminded of the 2003 Oscars, when Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry.  I remember it being a key moment in the awards show, but I don’t remember there being any outcry about consent.  I think that Halle Berry expected a kiss from Adrien Brody even less than Drake expected a kiss from Madonna. There is also the iconic photo of a sailor who grabs a nurse and kisses her on V-J Day in Times Square.  I recently found out that the nurse didn’t actually know the man, but the sailor, along with everyone else, was just so swept up in the moment.  The iconic moment is even replicated on a t-shirt at Old Navy.

I agree that consent is absolutely important.  If someone is sitting in a chair, minding their own business, you obviously shouldn’t just go over and start making out with them.  But in Drake’s case, he wasn’t merely sitting in a chair.  I mean, he was, but on a stage, and for the sake of performance.  There is a difference between everyday life and performance.  On the improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” the performers have kissed each other a few times in various scenarios for the sake of humour. Maybe improv isn’t the best example, because with improv anything goes and you leave yourself open to whatever happens since nothing is scripted.  But with performance in general, depending on the type, sometimes not everything is going to be scripted.  And especially in performances that include a sexual component, whether it be stripping, or dancing, or what have you, the people involved are generally more open to things.

Two years ago, I was at a New Kids on the Block concert.  I remember I did joke about how they should call themselves Old Guys on the Block instead, so I admit maybe it’s not just female performers who get critiqued for their age.  Although I find boy bands specifically are criticized more so than other male music artists, which is another issue entirely.  Nevertheless, I went to their concert, and am going again next week.  The guys are all in their 40’s.  At Rogers Arena, there are screens, so even if you’re not right in front of the stage or in whichever area they happen to be performing, you can still see close ups of what’s going on.  At one point, in the middle of a song, all of a sudden you see on screen, Donnie Wahlberg, making out with a random woman in the audience.  At no point did he ask if she wanted him to kiss her and at no point did she say “Yes, Donnie, I want you to kiss me.”  It just happened.  He didn’t even ask her to come on stage first or anything.  All of sudden, they were making out.

Have you ever been to a strip show?  I say strip show as opposed to strip club, as there is no male strip club in Vancouver.  If that’s not sexist, than I don’t know what is.  But there are groups of male strippers that perform shows, mostly at casinos.  If you haven’t been to a male strip show, maybe you’ve seen Magic Mike?  I have seen Thunder From Down under twice, once at the Excalibur in Vegas, and once at the River Rock in Richmond.  I’ve seen Chippendales once at Hard Rock in Coquitlam.  What does this have to do with anything?  Well, during these shows, there are moments when the guys will bring a woman on stage.  And maybe have her sit in a chair.  And then one of them will give her a lap dance, touch her, have her touch him, and yes, sometimes kiss her.  At no point does the male stripper ask her if he can kiss her, because it’s all a part of the performance.  You could say that she consented to go on stage, so she knew what was going to happen.  Similarly, Drake consented to going on stage.  I’m sure he was aware that he wasn’t going to merely sit there the entire time while, Madonna ignored his presence.  No, he was going to be a part of the performance.

This also made me think about Janet Jackson.  I have a friend who is completely obsessed with her, and therefore I’ve been subjected to watching videos of some of her past concerts.  And there is some pretty raunchy stuff.  If you think anything Madonna has done is overly sexual, watch some Janet’s videos.  There are times during her shows when she will bring a man from the audience up on stage.  She doesn’t have him sit in a chair.  She has him tied and strapped down, so he is lying down and she basically dry humps him and does whatever else she wants.  It’s way more intense than Madonna kissing Drake.  And it’s all a part of her performance.  (Side note, I still can’t believe that Janet Jackson is now Muslim.)  Like the guys who volunteered to go on stage with Janet, Drake agreed to go on stage with Madonna.

For those who say her age has nothing to do with the problem, I’d say that if Rihanna or some other young female performer had kissed Drake, there would have been no issue.  If Drake had still given the same grossed out reaction following the kiss, people would maybe question if she’s a bad kisser, but they certainly wouldn’t say that she had violated him in any way.  I wonder if his reaction had been positive instead of negative, would as many people still think of it as sexual assault?  I guess it’s impossible to know what he really thinks, but his response is that it was her lipstick, not the kiss itself that left a bad taste in his mouth.  Why shouldn’t we believe that?  Hell, sometimes my own lipstick gives me a bad taste in my mouth, so I totally get that.

I do understand and acknowledge that consent is extremely important.  And especially so in cases where there may be a sort of power imbalance, in terms status, or what have you.  I recognize, that just because Madonna is Madonna, that doesn’t give her free range to make out with whoever she pleases.  But it’s not as if she’s going around doing that on her own time.  She’s doing that as part of a performance.  Whether it’s Britney, or Christina, or Miley, or Drake, it’s all performance for the public.  But the fact that this has sparked so much conversation about the issue of consent is a good thing.

Ninth day of work selfie

I had like 50 shades of grey in my outfit that day. I got this dress at Urban Planet a while ago but this was my first time wearing it. You may not be able to see it, but there are sparkles on it along with the black flowers, so I decided to pair it with my sparkly metallic scarf from the Metrotown kiosk. I wish I could remember the name of the kiosk. There are two of them in that mall. Going with my grey theme, I decided to wear the sweater I bought at Jacob while I worked there, and while the store was still in business. I got the earrings, necklace, and bracelet from Claire’s. I know it’s like a little girl’s store, but it’s one of the few places where I can get nickel free jewellery. And I think I still feel somewhat connected to it since it was my first permanent job, even if it wasn’t the greatest. And the ring is from the vendor in the UBC sub. I think the only rings I own are the two that I bought at UBC because I’ve never really been much of a ring person. Who says grey has to be boring?

Eighth day of work selfie

I got this colourful dress at Winners a couple years ago. I bought it in the summer specifically to wear at the Vancouver Pride Parade because of all the colours. The navy blue sweater I’m wearing with it was purchased at Old Navy, solely because I had super cash left that I needed to spend. They always get me with the super cash. I got the blue scarf from Suzy Shier as a gift for my mom a few years ago, but we end up sharing things like scarves and shoes because we can. My blue flower necklace was from the UBC sub and it kind of blends in with the colous of my dress. 

Seventh day of work selfie

Seven days… Like in the movie “The Ring”? Never mind. I got this top? Dress? I don’t know, what do you call it when it’s too long to be a top but too short to be a dress? Whatever it is, I got it from one of the many Orb warehouse sales I’ve been to. The matching scarf was also from an Orb warehouse sale. I got the green sweater at Old Navy because I’m a sucker for a sweater with pockets. And I’ve repeated the gold leaf necklace I got from the vendor at the sub at UBC because I love it. I neglected to wear a ring that day. Maybe I subconsciously associated my seventh day with the line “Seven days” from The Ring, & didn’t want to coincidentally wear a ring? I’m not sure if that even makes sense. Whatever.  

Sixth day of work selfie

Red is supposed to be a bold, strong, confident colour. And why wouldn’t I want to exude those qualities? I bought this red sweater at Sears last year, before it closed down. A friend of mine had mentioned how stuff was on sale and how she bought clothes from the Jessica line so I decided to follow suit. The sweater with the roses was from the same kiosk in Metrotown where I bought my shiny scarves. I’m actually wearing matching red rose rain boots that I got from The Bay, but sadly they are not pictured here, as I do not have access to a full length mirror. I believe it was sunny that day, because of course it would be on a day when I wear rain boots. I think the black dress was actually from La Vie En Rose. Despite being a lingerie store, they surprisingly have a lot of clothing items that are perfectly acceptable for everyday wear. No one would know the difference.  I just realized that I’m wearing a ROSE scarf with a dress from La Vie En ROSE. What a coincidence.

“You’re too skinny” – A few thoughts on skinny shaming

During my morning commute a few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across this post about Giuliana Rancic.  It was about her acknowledging her skinny frame and responding to people critiquing her for it.

I almost decided not to write this because I figured a lot of people would think that I’m defending a famous person who doesn’t need defending and such. Based upon a lot of the Twitter comments I read in reply to that tweet, there is a lot of hatred. Many people not even bothering to read the article, saying horrible things about her and how she needs to eat and how she’s terrible and many accusing her of just trying to get attention and make herself seem like a victim, in light of the recent Zendaya scandal. I merely want to express my thoughts on this article and the things that it made me reflect on. I was also fearful of the backlash I might receive, as is often the case, from people saying that skinny shaming isn’t a real thing and that by saying it is I’m just perpetuating and diminishing fat shaming. That’s not what I’m trying to do either.

Regardless of what her reasons are for this article, I agree with a lot of what Giuliana has to say. She mentions that there were a lot of rumours and accusations about her having an eating disorder. She also states that if she actually did have an eating disorder, this would not be the appropriate way for people to address it. If someone is struggling with an eating disorder, do you think by shaming them and getting angry with them, that you’re making the situation any better? People going through these things need support, not hate. Growing up, I often dealt with accusations that I had an eating disorder. In high school, one girl tried spreading a rumour that I was anorexic. I never understood why she felt the need to do that. These accusations would often come from people who themselves had issues with their own bodies, but it also came from others. Family, friends, acquaintances, anybody I met. I’ve had people ask me if I was anorexic, while I was eating food in front of them. It didn’t make any sense. It was as if they were using the word as a synonym for thin, not realizing that it implied a serious eating disorder.

While I’ve never had an eating disorder myself, I know that it a serious issue that many people face and that a lot of people, famous or not, struggle with body image.  Celebrities like P!nk and Kelly Clarkson, have recently spoken out against body shaming. There are numerous campaigns promoting loving your body and being happy with yourself and not adhering to a certain image or ideal and that’s great.  But there is still a lot of hatred.  Whether it is fat shaming or skinny shaming, it is still wrong.

One of the reason’s that Giuliana’s situation struck a cord with me, is because there are health issues involved.  She has fought cancer and says that some of the medication she takes causes weight loss.  Many have chimed in saying that she was already skinny before the cancer, trying to push that aside so they can still direct shame at her.  Health issues are not something that healthy individuals often think about or consider when judging another person.  There are all sorts of illnesses and medications that can cause either weight gain or weight loss and there is no way that you could fully know another person’s situation simply by looking at them.  Imagine how awful it would be if you were dealing with a chronic illness and on top of that, you had to deal with people criticizing your weight, which is something that your illness has influenced.

I have dealt with health issues myself, and in turn dealt with people questioning me about my weight and my diet.  I remember one time someone said to me “You’re so skinny, I love how you can just eat whatever you want and not gain weight!”  Normally, I wouldn’t argue, but that time I mumbled something about how I couldn’t actually eat whatever I wanted.  She then asked me if I was really strict with my diet, assuming that it was something I chose simply to maintain a certain weight.  I told her that I actually have food sensitivities and there are certain things I can’t eat.  There’s a huge difference between choosing to cut something out of your diet because you want to lose weight and actually not being able to eat something because it physically wreaks havoc on your body.  It’s not like, oh, I can’t eat this because I might gain a few pounds, it’s I can’t eat this because I will physically suffer as a result.

Another time, I had a friend question my dining choices and tell me outright that I was too skinny.  That’s when I told her I was actually on a modified diet due to health reasons.  I know that there are some people who don’t have any health issues and just have a fast metabolism and good genes and everyone envies them.  People start being hateful because of it.  But in Giuliana’s case, there is more to it than that.  A lot of people wish they could eat whatever they wanted and not gain weight, but would you still want that if it meant you had cancer or some type of chronic illness?  I’m guessing not.

The health aspect of body shaming is the one that I feel really strongly about. But even if there is no serious underlying health issue involved, it is still something that should not be tolerated.  I have other thoughts on the subject and could probably devote an entire blog to skinny shaming or body shaming alone.  But I won’t.  But I will very likely post about it again in the future.

Problems I have with blogging

I just can’t seem to keep up with it. I have so many drafts of blog posts I’ve written but never quite finished or never published. I found a draft of a post I wrote about a concert I went to two years ago. What am I supposed to do with that now? Post it? Delete it? Write a new post critiquing the old post? I don’t even know.

My problem is I’ll start writing something or think about writing something, but by the time I actually get around to posting it, it’s no longer relevant. Or even less relevant than it was to begin with. Especially when I write about something in the news or some event. If it’s been over a month since it happened, should I even bother anymore?

Maybe I’ll post them anyway. Since they’re there. My timing is horrible. I’ll go weeks with nothing, and then post five things in two days. But better late than never, right?