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Madonna Phenomenon - Essay Example

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Her prominence as a cultural and representational icon is shown in numerous articles and books written that analyze and emphasize her various roles in shaping American society and global pop…
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Madonna Phenomenon
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Download file to see previous pages The Madonna phenomenon demonstrates popular culture’s ability to enable political and social contestation through Madonna as its central popular symbol where the Madonna phenomenon explores gender as performance, intersects political and cultural representation, challenges and reinscribes feminine gender categories, and inspires other women to pursue their dreams.
Judith Butler asserts that gender is performed as it relates socially-produced subjects in a specific context, where Madonna literally and figuratively performs gender to connect to her primary audience. Butler explains that gender is not an attribute but a performance. Gender is part of human identity, and identity is not static or homogenous (Butler 5 qtd. in Gauntlett 106). Gender is what people do (i.e. their behaviours) and not what they truly are, according to Butler (Gauntlett 107). Madonna’s performances are performances of her identity and for her gender. Different scholars assert that Madonna performs femininity as a masquerade. E. Ann Kaplan explains the meaning of Madonna’s image to her and her audience: “[Madonnas] image usefully adopts one mask after another to expose the fact that there is no ‘essential’ self and therefore no essential feminine but only cultural constructions” (160). Indeed, Madonna’s different images show cultural constructions as present in “Material Girl.” In this song, she shows how materialism in modern society shapes femininity and masculinity. In the chorus, Madonna sings: “You know that we are living in a material world/And I am a material girl.” She is suggesting that because she lives in a material world, she has become a material girl. She talks about herself and women who have become materialistic because of the American Dream that underlines materialistic indicators of happiness and success. Guilbert notes that Madonna challenges “the consumerist form of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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