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Madonna Felt 'Raped' by New York Times Feature

by Sam Cronin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jun 6, 2019

The New York Times' Vanessa Grigoriadis did what's supposedly one of the hardest things for a journalist to do: She met her hero.

Well, technically she'd met her once before, but in a recent lengthy feature for the Times Magazine, Grigoriadis spent "days and hours and months" with Madonna, an artist she'd seen in concert as a teenager and felt a deep connection with in all the intervening years. They're both middle-aged mothers, both feminists and both deeply invested in women's issues. But a problem arose when, like any fan who perceives a two-way relationship with their hero where one does not exist, Grigoriadis talked to Madonna like a friend; like a sister.

A major focus of the interview was on Madonna's age. She's 60 now. Grigoriadis is 45, and asked some questions seeking advice on coping with getting older, and Madonna wasn't having it.

"I think you think about age too much," Madonna said in the interview. "I think you should just stop thinking about it. Stop thinking, just live your life and don't be influenced by society trying to make you feel some type of way about your age or what it is you're supposed to be doing."

When Grigoriadis kept pressing her, hoping for some sisterly insight from a woman with whom she felt she'd grown up, Madonna drove a wedge between them. They're not friends. They're not sisters. As much as many of us get into journalism for the chance to meet our heroes and pick their brains, we can't bank on the deep bond we feel going both ways. These people don't know us, and as much as they may have touched our lives and given us guidance and strength, to them a fan is a fan is a fan.

There's a reason the Beatles stopped touring and Bob Dylan and Neil Young despise interviews. Fans ruin it. They ruin it by seeking divine wisdom from ordinary people. It must be draining. Madonna's no different, and she clearly got fed up having to cope with Grigoriadis looking at her through star-shaped glasses.

Shortly after the piece went up, Madonna posted a scathing rebuke of the feature, saying in part that she "feels raped" by her portrayal in the feature.

View this post on Instagram

Madame ? on the cover of N.Y.T. Magazine photographed by my dear friend @jr..........Also sharing my fav photo that never made it in, along with pre-shoot chat and a celebratory glass of wine ???? after many hours of work! To say that I was disappointed in the article would be an understatement- It seems. You cant fix society And its endless need to diminish, Disparage or degrade that which they know is good. Especially strong independent women. The journalist who wrote this article spent days and hours and months with me and was invited into a world which many people dont get to see, but chose to focus on trivial and superficial matters such as the ethnicity of my stand in or the fabric of my curtains and never ending comments about my age which would never have been mentioned had I been a MAN! Women have a really hard time being the champions of other women even if. they are posing as intellectual feminists. Im sorry i spent 5 minutes with her. It makes me feel raped. And yes I'm allowed to use that analogy having been raped at the age of 19. Further proof that the venerable N.Y.T. Is one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy. And I say—-DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY woven deep into the fabric of Society. I will never stop fighting to eradicate it. ????

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on


Maybe she really did mind that the feature talked about her drapes and her body doubles and small details. Maybe she really was bothered by being asked about aging over and over. Maybe she's more self-conscious than she seems. Or maybe, like I suspect, she just didn't realize how let down the author would be by asking for a goddess and meeting a person and was disappointed with the result. The final product feels written by a woman wrung-out and deprived of a connection she once felt deep inside. It seems like there was a disconnect on both sides, and it's sad to see both author and subject be let down so heavily by one another.

Madonna's fourteenth studio album, "Madame X," releases June 14


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