Fans Telling Madonna To ‘Grow Up’ And ‘Act Her Age’ On Her Celebration Tour Is Not OK

This isn’t even the first time that Madonna has faced scrutiny over her performance in the context of her age. After her appearance at the 2023 Grammys, many critics flocked to the Internet to air their unsolicited opinions. “Madonna looks good for her age … if her age is a 2,700-year-old vampire who eats babies and small animals alive,” one posted.

A Madonna fan did admittedly hit back at the time with a perfect response: “The negative comments here are so predictable. Most of them come from people who are scared of getting older and insignificant themselves.”

The singer has been fielding these comments about her age for too long, just like many women in (and out) of the public eye, aged over the age of 40 or so. Back in 2016, she hit out at an unknown critic about “acting her age”.

“How do I know I’m still acting my age?” she wrote. “Because it’s MY age and it’s MY life and all of you women hating bigots need to sit down and try to understand why you feel the need to limit me with you down fear of what you aren’t familiar with.

“The fact that people actually believe a woman is not allowed to express her sexuality and be adventurous past a certain age is proof that we still live in an ageist and sexist society,” she posted on Instagram.

In a 2021 interview, Madonna spoke out about not thinking about age when she performs. “I don’t even think about my age, to tell you the truth. I just keep going,” she said. “Even when I performed almost my entire tour in agony, I had no cartilage left in my right hip, and everyone kept saying, ‘You gotta stop, you gotta stop.’ I said, ‘I will not stop. I will go until the wheels fall off.’”

To infantalise Madonna in this way by telling her to act more like other women her age just feels like misogynstic.

Kevin Mazur

So if she’s not thinking about her age, why is everyone else?

There are multiple issues at play here – one is the disturbing link many draw between age and sexuality. When a woman gets older, she is shamed for her sexuality. She’s told to “act her age” and curb that side of herself, particularly in public. Secondly, fans seem to be claiming some kind of ownership over Madonna’s body and behaviour, wanting her to act the way they think is “age appropriate” to them. Both of these issues stink of misogyny over a woman’s choices and a misplaced assumption that we own Madonna’s body, actions or performances.

Perhaps the star’s “fans” and critics would do well to concentrate on respecting her energy, commitment and talent – instead of focusing on her age and how she should be acting in response to it.

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