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Madonna hits back at criticism of her appearance at the Grammys

'Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny'

By Joe Goggins

Madonna in a selfie posted to Twitter, February 2023
The pop legend has responded to her critics. (Photo: Madonna/Twitter)

Madonna has responded to criticism of her appearance at this year’s Grammy Awards in a lengthy Instagram post.

The pop icon was in attendance at the Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday night (February 5), where she introduced a performance by Sam Smith and Kim Petras. Her appearance led to social media speculation about possible plastic surgery.

Now, in a message posted to Instagram as a caption accompanying a video of herself backstage at the ceremony, in which she can be seen partying with the likes of Smith, Petras and Cardi B, the singer has fired back at critics, although began the statement by congratulating Smith and Petras for having scooped the price for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for ‘Unholy’.

“It was an honour for me to introduce Kim Petras and Sam Smith at the Grammys,” she wrote. “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!!”

Madonna then went on to address speculation about her appearance at the awards, blaming long-lens photography. “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,” she said. “Taken with a long lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone’s face!!”

She then addressed what she considers to be the root cause of the backlash against her appearance. “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.” 

I have never apologised for any of the creative choices I have made nor the way that I look or dress and I’m not going to start,” she went on. “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. In the words of Beyoncé, “you won’t break my soul”. 

I look forward to many more years of subversive behaviour,” she concluded. “Pushing boundaries, standing up to the patriarchy, and most of all enjoying my life. Bow down, bitches!” Madonna’s attendance at the Grammys came as she gears up for a major live comeback that will take her to 35 cities around the world later this year. She has sold out six nights at The O2 Arena in London.