Madonna Louise Ciccone was a real pioneer, she smashed up boundaries in her fingerless lace gloves and in doing so laid the foundations for today's fierce female singers. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicky Minaj, Kesha; they all owe their careers to the trained dancer's determination to be successful as a real female artist rather than a singing doll. Madonna was one of the first mainstream female entertainers to encourage women to own their bodies; not to be unashamed of their sexuality but to celebrate it. When she paraded around in that now iconic conical bra, she was the epitome of female strength, sexiness and power; and her millions of female fans loved it. But what was once groundbreaking is becoming a tiredold shock tactic at the hands of the very woman who empowered a generation.
Now 54, Madonna's decision to parade her admittedly fantastic body in skimpy lingerie on stage seems more like the act of an aging dame trying to persuade the world she's still got it than an entreaty to empowerment. This trend reached an apogee on Monday in Miami when she revealed a view that only her gynecologist should really be privy to.
It made for an undignified sight; and an unnecessary one because Madonna would look good in a bin bag, and while nobody expects her to be giving Gaga a run for her money: the imagination's the limit. It doesn't help that given her millions in the bank, Madonna at 54 can afford the best treatments and trainers to maintain a body and face a million miles away from fans of the same age and even younger.
Chasing unrealistic ideals of youth and fitness puts her at odds with those who grew up with her music, she might well sing 'don't go for second best' to them still but they now know by looking at her that they probably will have to do just that. Her controversial Sex book was released twenty years ago and in the two decades that have elapsed, the mainstream has become so sexualised it would hardly raise an eyebrow.
And that's the sad thing about Madonna now, once upon a time she'd have known instinctively what would be the most shocking thing to do in this day and age... and that's to cover up.