After presenting at this year’s Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Madonna was met with an influx of criticism regarding her appearance. In her latest Instagram post, discussing a close-up photo of her face that went viral online, the multi-award-winning singer protested that she was “caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in.” 

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The photograph was captured while Madonna was introducing Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s performance of “Unholy.” In Madonna’s words it was a “history making moment,” adding: “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 taken with a long lens camera by a press photographer that would distort anyone’s face!”

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Comments flooded in beneath Madonna’s post calling her scary, unrecognizable and denouncing her supposed “obsession with plastic surgery.” Still, the singer has never actually publicly addressed rumors of cosmetic enhancements. In response, Madonna clapped back saying that the internet realm, specifically Instagram, “refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45.”


Public opinion on appearance comes with the job, so this is certainly not Madonna’s first rodeo. However,  this opens up a much deeper conversation on the unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by social media platforms. Instagram showcases the highlight reel of user’s lives and the culture of the platform leaves little room for reality– even the natural aging process. 

Controversial commentary surrounding the aesthetic of her looks is not foreign territory for Madonna. “I have never apologized 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 wrote in the post. “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.”