This week we read about privilege. Madonna recently came out chastising M.I.A. for giving the middle finger during Madonna’s big Super Bowl half time show. Needless to say Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ will live on in infamy, giving the world the phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’, but this year it seems that the main performer is the one most offended. I suppose the point of this post is to discuss the different standards privilege allows us as women. As far as entertainers go, Madonna has always been known for her shock and awe appeal. Who can forget her road cone brassiere? That is why it comes as a surprise that she was offended that someone did something shocking. Perhaps she was shocked she did not think of it first, or that a person of color one upped her?
Madonna has made a career out of two things, one being shock as previously stated, and the other as a cultural carpet bagger. She is unique in being able to maneuver in and out of black culture(gay and straight) and white gay subculture without ever relinquishing any of her white privilege. I have nothing against Madonna, this is evident in her music videos “Vogue”,”Like a Prayer”, and “La Isla Bonita”. Heck, she even adopted a British accent for a while. Her anger at M.I.A. might be more understood when you see the video for the song, in which M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj play subordinate figures in the material girls world, literally cheerleaders for her.
Madonna is nothing if not crafty, she has found a way of cashing in on white privilege while simultaneously (giving the appearance of) spitting in its eye. She explores other cultures for her audience and brings back what she thinks is worthy as her own work. The music industry as a whole may be defined through a similar lens, but few artists have use their career to so blatantly showcase their white privilege.