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Is Madonna's New Look Empowering?

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Madonna's facial and body changes with her extensive plastic surgery. She is praised for being open about it, unlike other celebs who have obviously been "altered" but deny anything except exercise and facials. She's been criticized for going over the top and failing to accept the natural changes of aging. She's been praised for being a trailblazer and doing whatever the hell she wants, without caring about public opinion. The truth is probably neither.

Certainly as a well known public figure, her choices are completely her own. In fact, everyone...celeb or not...has the right to make their own appearance choices without explanation or criticism. But it might be going way too far to say she is empowering and trailblazing for other women. Is she really showing us the right way to age? Her performances remain raunchy and "over-the-top", just like we would come to expect from Madonna. Her costumes and stage production continues to raise eyebrows and "shock" the middle class. Horray! She's pushing that envelope as she always has, and more power to her at age 64. She's a performer and she is performing!

But I'm talking about the extensive and face altering plastic surgery she has endured that completely change her appearance into a new person. There is a medical condition called body dysmorphic disorder when a person continues to undergo surgical procedures to constantly change their appearance. They worry about flaws (and normal aging) that others would not notice. It is considered to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder that impairs a persons self esteem and worsens if not treated.

Michael Jackson suffered from this disorder and botched surgeries required more and more procedures that ultimately affected his health.

Every woman can make her own decision about her appearance; cosmetic procedures, hair coloring and whatever else is needed to feel comfortable with her body. If Madonna wanted to look like this and she likes the be it. But she's not leading the way for how women age. She's not empowering young women to "be you". She's not showing us how women in their 60s should look. There are many examples of successful, beautiful, empowered women who are in their 60's, 70's, 80's who are true models of health and vitality. They are the true icons to follow.

Madonna is following her own path.


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