JAN MOIR: Madonna’s veiled bid for attention looks in very poor taste

JAN MOIR: Madonna’s veiled bid for attention with a burka-style face-covering looks in very poor taste

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a celebrity trying to be anonymous, but somehow drawing even more red hot attention to themselves? No prizes for guessing.

Madonna apparently tried to travel incognito through New York’s JFK airport this week — but a pair of sunglasses and a fast walk just won’t hack it for Madge any more. Instead, the 60-year-old star wore a burka-style face-covering teamed with a lace-trimmed padded coat.

This weird creature immediately attracted the attention of every photographer within a 500-yard radius, cue a starburst of camera flashes. And as she peeled off her mask and bizarre layers when going through security, lo, her secret identity was laid bare.

Madonna apparently tried to travel incognito through New York’s JFK airport this week — but a pair of sunglasses and a fast walk just won’t hack it for Madge any more

Could it be a coincidence that Madonna has just announced a string of American and European tour dates for later this year? Not that any of us need an excuse to write about the queen of pop.

We are talking about a woman who once bared her bottom at the Met Gala. No darling, not because she’s an inexhaustible narcissist, she says it was a form of political statement. In 1992, she posed in a series of explicit photographs for her erotic book, Sex. No silly, not because of a childish eagerness to shock, she says she just wanted to empower women.

For years she has practised a unique kind of religious sedition, mocking her own Roman Catholic faith in songs and videos. This was only if there was a subversive and sexy Dolce & Gabbana dress in it for her, complete with matching black lack undies. And guess what? There usually was.

She even once staged a mock crucifixion which caused worldwide headlines and had Pope Benedict XVI demanding she be excommunicated from the Catholic Church — job done.

The 60 year old singer who just announced her ‘Madame X’ tour wore a black burka, New York Yankees jacket with lace trim, black sweats, and Louis Vuitton

So sometimes Madonna is out there, sometimes she is not. Sometimes it’s all about me, sometimes she just wants a little me time. However, a face covering? Isn’t that going too far, even for her?

It is certainly hard to stomach the sight of the self-styled old feminist warhorse wearing what, for some, is such a symbol of female oppression; a simple piece of fabric that has caused so much controversy across the globe.

Some fans have suggested online that Madonna was perhaps behind this sacred mask to hide some post-procedural facial swelling or bruising. If that is the case, it makes matters even worse.

In some countries, women are fighting for the right not to wear this repressive item of clothing. Yet is this one of the richest and most celebrated women on the planet sticking one on for vanity’s sake, merely to hide a bit of cosmetic enhancement?

Let’s hope that is not true. However, it does have echoes of the 2015 fiasco when Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen was caught in Paris in a full-length burka, hoping not to be noticed as she checked into a plastic surgery clinic.

It is deeply offensive that one woman would use another’s religious attire just to avoid public and media detection.

Madonna performs live during the MDNA tour at Hyde Park in July 2012

Yet when it comes to Madonna, perhaps there is a deeper reason for this odd excursion into niqab-style territory. Just as with the botty-baring (enlightenment) and the sex book (liberation), maybe there is a higher purpose?

If she was wearing it satirically, as she might argue, to show how inappropriate such clothing is in the free world, then hurrah!

Any female celebrity who dares to suggest burkas have no place in the modern Western world gets my vote.

I believe it is pro-feminist to suggest that too many Muslim women are condemned to a reduced life in enshrouding robes simply because of their sex. In many of the most exciting cities in the world, including London, they are sequestered away, often at the behest of their fathers, brothers and husbands.

Madonna on kids

Elsewhere in her Vogue interview, Madonna was talking about some of her kids. Biological daughter Lola is ‘insanely talented, way better than me in the talent department’, but ‘she doesn’t have the same drive’.

It is adopted son David, 13, who apparently ‘has more of my DNA than any of my children so far’. Approving Madonna sees her own work ethic reflected in his ‘focus and determination’.

Good for him. However, doesn’t all this rather suggest a relentlessly self-obsessed mother who only sees and rates her children through the prism of herself?

Of course, some are happy to wear the burka but, given the option, how many would toss them aside with joy?

Many supporters argue that wearing a niqab or a burka is the same as wearing a crucifix, but is that entirely true? Both sexes can, and do, wear the latter, but only women are hidden behind the veil.

Even some enlightened imams are all for change, pointing out that the head covering has no Koranic legitimacy.

So come on, Madonna, what do you say? I see the burka and its little sister the niqab not as evidence of religious devotion, but of male subjugation. Symbols of oppression, not fervour.

In her latest interview with Vogue magazine, Madonna complains that there are no new feminist heroines for her to worship. I take her point.

The sisters are too busy arguing about #MeToo, the glass ceiling, gender pay gaps, women on the boards of companies and £10 notes.

Meanwhile, this terrible injustice happens to thousands of women in our midst and there is barely a squeak about it. The dreadful thing is that burkas get properly noticed only when women such as Madonna and Gisele appropriate them.

Feisty Fleabag’s word is her Bond 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2017

Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge (right) has been hired as a scriptwriter on the new James Bond film.

She has vowed to make the female characters ‘real people’ for the first time — which is exactly what the franchise needs. If anyone can make those one-dimensional Bond-bait babes come alive, it is the immensely talented Miss W-B.

Meanwhile, she is to bring her Fleabag character to the London West End in August, for 30 performances before the character is retired for ever.

The shows quickly sold out, and I am almost relieved. Why? Well, the prospect of sitting in an audience full of ghastly, right-on Fleabag fans, high on the glutinous smuggery of managing to get a ticket, makes me feel ill. 

So I am not jealous at all. Sideways look to camera. I am as jealous as hell.

Truly something to shout about!

This just in. Lulu has complained of having to stand on the London Underground. The 70-year-old posted a picture of herself journeying on the Tube to the O2 Arena, where she is on tour with Take That.

I say complain. What I really mean is brag. For what Lulu really means is that she looks so peachy and babeliciously young, no one thought to give up their seat for her. And the thing is, she’s right!

‘On the way to work,’ she wrote, ‘and nobody gave this old bird a seat on the Tube.’

Perhaps that’s because Lulu has devoted most of her life, and perhaps many thousands of pounds, in the pursuit of youthful looks.

Lulu has complained of having to stand on the London Underground. The 70-year-old posted a picture of herself journeying on the Tube to the O2 Arena, where she is on tour with Take That

In this, she has been wildly successful. The only thing that looks better than her after seven decades on the planet is the old BBC Television Centre in London, and it’s just had a facelift. The building! Not Lulu.

Look at our girl! She was born within months of Richard Gere, Meryl Streep, Kraft Cheese Singles and Jeremy Corbyn — and she wears it better than any of them, give or take a toastie.

Like Gloria Hunniford, Lulu discovered early that one of the secrets to looking fabulous is to marry your hairdresser (although she divorced John Frieda in 1991, she still goes to his salon). And she never goes to sleep without removing every scrap of make-up, which must take hours.

But the glorious thing that keeps Lulu young at heart is her attitude. You have to admire a seventysomething taking public transport to perform at a concert in front of thousands. Take that, indeed.

Nothing will rain on Queen’s parade

We’ve seen her in ermine and fur, crowns and gowns, on stamps and banknotes, in grand portraits and cast in bronze. Yet the Queen always looks her best — and cheeriest — togged out in her tweedy clothes, indulging in some beloved country pursuit or other.

Although it was terrific to see Prince Philip out and about this week, he was outshone by his wife’s appearance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

In a rain hat, waterproofs and a huge smile, Her Maj has never looked happier or more glorious. With a new baby safely delivered to the House of Windsor, and some lovely horsies to watch, all is well in the House of Windsor this week.

In a rain hat, waterproofs and a huge smile, Her Maj has never looked happier or more glorious

Amanda Knox is to return to Italy for the first time since she was jailed and then acquitted for the murder of her flatmate, Meredith Kercher. She is to address a conference about miscarriages of justice — its organisers believe she is ‘an icon of trial by mass media’.

If she had any decency, she’d stay away. The bereaved Kercher family have never been convinced of Knox’s innocence and their lawyer calls this trip ‘totally inappropriate’. Too damn right.

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