At an age when many of her peers are starting to get knee replacements, the agility displayed by a dancing Madonna at this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show inspired awe in her age mates, many of whom can't even manage a deep knee bend no less repeated squats and cartwheels.
PLAY IT NOW: Madonna's Super Bowl Halftime Video
So when people started dishing about the foxy 53-year-old being too old to perform in public, it wasn't long before her defenders drew their verbal swords.
Forbes contributor Liz W. Garcia called the mean comments ageist. "In spite of the fact that Madonna is 53 years old and leapt from a kneeling position to standing, over and over whilst wearing spike heels . . . and keeping pace with her twenty-something backup dancers, the focus was on her age," she wrote.
Garcia was referring to such mean comments as rapper Headkrack's tweet, "The tin woman needs some oil" and that of couch critic Mike Davis who whined, "If I wanted to watch a bunch of dudes in tight outfits fighting over an old piece of leather skin, I'd just watch the Superbowl."
Implying that being young is better than being old and that women should become invisible after they turn 40 is not only naïve, but also short-sighted. The young tweeters who slammed Madonna on Sunday will soon be her age and have to eat their over-salted words.
Though one could dismiss the mean age digs as jokes, they send a warped message to women that their value is linked to their lack of wrinkles. As Garcia pointed out, "This ageist mentality translates to the images we send out into the wide world in TV and film, and where we disproportionately prioritize youth we send the message to our young women that they are relevant only briefly and superficially, like shooting stars. Or like pop stars."
Like it or not, we're all going to get older, and Madonna's half time show was just more proof that it doesn't mean you have to spend the second half of your life playing checkers on the front porch.
In addition to pundits defending Madonna's right to appear in public past her 50th birthday, celebrities from Rosie ot Snooki gave props to Madonna's age-appropriate -- if not age-defying --performance with their real-time tweets:
* "Madonna = perfection" -- Rosie O'Donnell @Rosie
* "That was the best half time show EVER!" -- NiC0LE P0LiZZi @snooki
* "Nothing I have watching musically has made my heart pump with so much joy then Madonna's performance #thesuperbowl fucking amazing!" -- Kelly Osbourne @MissKellyO
* "O. M. G. #Madonna #killedit BRILLIANT #HalfTime show!!!!!!!!!!!! SUPERB choreography & Madonna was FLAWLESS!" -- The Real Paula Abdul @PaulaAbdul
Perhaps even more significant, with Madonna's movie "W.E." just hitting theaters and her 2012 world tour launching in May, the Material Girl doesn't seem to mind what anyone says about her because she is too busy making the most of her middle-aged life.
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