Skip to main content

Madonna's Controversial Influence on Female Empowerment

by Lauren Pirie-Scott

The ‘Queen of pop,’ singer, songwriter, actress, iconic… need I go on, Madonna, recently shared several Instagram stories urging followers to remember her influence on female empowerment and freedom of sexuality after receiving backlash for a TikTok seemingly coming out as gay.


Within these Instagram stories, she also mentioned how other stars such as Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, and Miley Cyrus, have benefitted from her work as part of the feminist movement, ending the story post with, “You’re welcome bitches…”.

This, again, caused further social media backlash as it was viewed as an attack on the female artists mentioned. Cardi B even reacted by tweeting, “I literally paid this woman homage so many times cause I grew up listening to her… she can make her point without putting clown emojis and getting slick out the mouth.”

This tweet has now been deleted, and both Cardi and Madonna have made it clear that this beef is squashed with Madonna going on to tweet, “Ilove you @iamcardib”

Cardi confirmed this reconciliation by tweeting, “I talked to Madonna …It was beautiful😊….Have a great day and drive safely yallll😘”.

So, let’s take a look at what Madonna actually has done for female empowerment and the LGBTQ+ community.

First, and arguably most importantly, her book titled ‘Sex’. She references this in one Instagram story and, being released on October 21st 1992, it has recently celebrated it’s 30-year anniversary of publication. 

The book features naked pictures of Madonna in every situation imaginable, from her hitchhiking in Miami, to posing in a pizzeria. Not only this, but the legendary book also included images of multiple same-sex couples and throuples engaging in erotic activities. Madonna’s message within this book is of sexual freedom in media, emphasising her aims within the feminist movement to allow women to express their sexuality without shame. This book can be seen as a stepping stone towards a more sex-positive society, where it isn’t taboo for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to be open about their sexual preferences and experiences. 

Madonna also wanted to make it clear that she promotes safe sex - with the book being packaged in a sealed bag, symbolising a condom, in order to show this. The reaction of the media at the time was extremely negative, reviewers claimed it was “too much”, “morally intolerable”, and categorised it as distasteful, hardcore pornography. 

More recently, reviews have been positive, appreciating Madonna’s intended message, and considering it her legacy - as they should. 

Today, we can recognise that Madonna was, and is still, a revolutionary that the feminist movement has a lot to thank for, so can we really stay mad? Within the criticism both Madonna and Cardi B have faced, it seems onlookers may have lost sight of the real issue - which is how women are still demonized in the media for simply owning their sexuality and discussing ‘taboo’ topics - something men can simultaneously talk openly of whilst receiving no backlash, but often praise. 

Currently, there are swarms of articles circulating the internet condemning Madonna for recent topless videos shared on her Instagram stories. One article even compares Madonna’s nude pictures to an image of her 26-year-old daughter, Lourdes Leon, claiming that Lourdes, “showed off her modelling skills as she stunned in an elegant gown”. Then adding, “This comes after mommy Madonna shocked fans by posing topless with cartoon emojis over her breasts”.

This obvious negative comparison between the two women takes us back to 30 years ago, and shows us that society is trapped in the same mindset that Madonna fought, and still fights, to reject. 

Although the feminist movement has come a long way, there is still more work to do in order to end the vicious social media and gossip culture that condemns so many people for simply existing.

If these images were in PlayBoy or on PornHub, where many of the women did not consent to their bodies being there, would they still be receiving the same disgusted reaction? 

Edited by Emily Duff

Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Now What? The Aftermath of the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'

by Susan Moore Here is a bit about me: I am an open, excitable, creative AFAB who is also moderately attractive. I have a unique sense of personal style and a personality that on the surface can only be described as “bubbly” and “quirky”. For this reason, dating is a nightmare. To be sure, I do not have a hard time finding dates or potential suitors. The problems arise when said dates spend some time with me and decide that I am a rare specimen, and the connection they feel with me is “unlike anything they have felt before”. Then, things go one of two ways.  Either a) they decide I am too high maintenance and no longer palatable, or  b) they choose to never look further than the surface and are content to date the idea of me rather than the real me. There is something rather interesting, perhaps funny, about my situation. It is in no way unique. I have met so many people who constantly dealt with the same problem. Even funnier still, is the fact that there is a trope that simultaneousl

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18