Thursday, November 10, 2011

Madonna and Andrea Riseborough for Harper's Bazaar December 2011

Madonna and Andrea Riseborough (the star of Madonna's new film W.E) cover the December issue of Harper's Bazaar. Photos and excerpts from Madonna's interview below.

 newsstand cover

subscriber's cover

On her sense of self: “I think it’s just that as a creative person, in all the different things that I’ve done or ways that I’ve found to express myself, I’ve consistently come up against resistance in certain areas. I think that the world is not comfortable with female sexuality. It’s always coming from a male point of view, and a woman is being objectified by a man—and even women are comfortable with that. But when a woman does it, ironically, women are uncomfortable with it. I think a lot of that has to do with conditioning.”

On escaping that conditioning: “The fact that I didn’t have a mother helped me in some respect, and that I didn’t have a female role model. I was always very aware of sexual politics, growing up in a Catholic-Italian family in the Midwest, seeing that my brothers could do what they wanted but the girls were always told that they needed to dress a certain way, act a certain way. We were told to wear our skirts to our knees, turtlenecks, cover ourselves and not wear makeup, and not do anything that would draw attention.

One of my father's famous quotes — and I love him dearly, but he's very, very old-fashioned—was 'If there were more virgins, the world would be a better place. "Wow, Papa," I say, laughing. "I'm sure he wouldn't say that now," she says. "He's probably cringing. Obviously, that was when I was young. And then, going to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn't fit into that. So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits. The boys in my school would make fun of me. 'Hairy monster.' You know, things like that." It wasn't until her teenage years, when she began hanging out at gay clubs, that Madonna started to find herself. "Straight men did not find me attractive. I think they were scared of me because I was different. I've always asked, 'Why? Why do I have to do that? Why do I have to look this way? Why do I have to dress this way? Why do I have to behave this way?'"

"I also encourage all of my children to ask questions and investigate. I never want my children to come to me and say they want to do something because everyone else is doing it. That doesn't interest me at all. You need to tell me your personal reasons about why it will benefit you, what you're going to get out of it, what it means to you. Otherwise, you're just a robot. You're not thinking for yourself. Where would you go with your life with this kind of attitude?"

On being vulnerable to criticism: "For some reason, I feel like I never left high school, because I still feel that if you don't fit in, you're going to get your ass kicked. That hasn't really changed for me. I've always been acutely aware of differences and the way you are supposed to act if you want to be popular. Making movies is really hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I think my behavior and my lifestyle threaten a lot of social norms, like the movie does. I think there are a lot of parallels and connections."

On her age being a media focus: "I find whenever someone writes anything about me, my age is right after my name," she says. "It's almost like they're saying, 'Here she is, but remember she's this age, so she's not that relevant anymore.' Or 'Let's punish her by reminding her and everyone else.' When you put someone's age down, you're limiting them. To have fun, that's the main issue. To continue to be a provocateur, to do what we perceive as the realm of young people, to provoke, to be rebellious, to start a revolution."

Photos by Tom Munro
Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

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