Madonna, the queen of pop, was the obvious choice for our group when it came to picking a research topic. Madonna is an icon that has played a role in shaping everything from fashion for over 30 years. We plan to take a deeper look at how she has influences gender identity, sexuality, fashion, trends, and future pop musicians. This analysis will be done either by narrowing down her work to a music video such as “Vogue” or “Like a Prayer” or through an analysis of her over a long time span. We thought it could be interesting to look at her original “Like a Virgin” performance compared to the 2003 version and how she shaped the pop culture climate to that point.
We have identified a group of key questions that will help guide our research for this project. What is it about Madonna that has made her such a huge star/ what was it that made her so iconic from the beginning? What was happening in the United States when she hit the scene that allowed for her success? How has she transformed over the past 3 decades? What role did Madonna play in redefining controversy, gender roles, and sex in American popular culture? What role Madonna played in making MTV and other late 20th century entities as popular as they are today? Our overall goal is to show how Madonna has had a long lasting and overwhelming influence on American pop culture since the 1980s. The argument would be that that music artists, fashion, gender roles, sexual expression, and many other pieces of modern America would not be anything like they are today without Madonna’s golden touch.
The Contributors to this blog are...
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Both her Like a Virgin album and VMA performance exemplify how gender and sexuality were utilized by Madonna to increase her celebrity in the mid 1980s. The Like a Virgin album featured disco style beats with a single female vocalist singing over them, nothing new for the pop music industry. Yet, Like a Virgin was expected to sell a lot of copies due to the image of Madonna put out by her and the promotions team behind her record. As "Inside the Pop Sleeve" states, "no doubt this neo-con plastic disco doll will sell millions of records, and her picture sitting on a bed in her lacy underwear won't hurt." Madonna was using the imagery of the contemporary party girl, and the sexuality that followed with it, to make herself stand out and to reach her audience. Her VMA performance did much of the same; highlighting traditional images of gender, such as a white wedding dress, and putting them juxtapose to her raunchy, party-girl, image. One critic went as far as to say of her VMA act that she, "performed dreadfully in her underwear and a smile, both of which were as see-through as television will allow." Here is a great example of the critical views of Madonna taken by many at the time. She was clearly using her risque gender ideals and sexuality on stage as an image to hype up her celebrity, and thus sell her music.