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Madonna Shares Spotlight on Harper’s Bazaar Cover

Madonna
Harper's Bazaar

Madonna is a one-of-a-kind. She goes by one name. She set the bar for pop divas who came after her. So normally, we’d be shocked that the Material Girl shared the spotlight of a fashion mag cover with another woman.

But that’s just what Madge does on the cover of the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Notice that she does assume the dominant, position, standing behind the “other” woman, with her arm around her neck. She’s still in charge in the shot.

But Madge’s cover co-star is not some ordinary model. It’s Andrea Riseborough, who stars in Madonna’s much-buzzed about period piece ‘W.E.’ Turns out the shared cover is a brilliant promotional strategy. Score another one for Madonna.

In the black and white shots, Madge plays the photographer, taking snaps of Riseborough. She’s largely covered up, wearing black serial killer-style specs, looking French, smart, high-brow and artsy at once.

In the feature, Madge talks about the film, saying, “When I brought up the subject of Wallis Simpson to people when I was living in England, I was astounded by the outrage that was provoked by her name. The movie is all about the cult of celebrity. We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrine-like area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them. Wallis Simpson became famous by default, by capturing the heart of the king, but it’s obviously a subject I’m constantly on the inside of, and the outside of.”

She compared her status as a trend-setter and a cultural lightning rod to the themes in the film, saying, “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.”

The former ‘Boy Toy’ also addressed her history of challenging sexual mores, saying, “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.”

Losing her mother at a young age certainly impacted her grasp on her sexuality, as well. Madge said, “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.”

Clearly, Madonna didn’t take that strict norm to heart.

Madonna
Harper's Bazaar

Madonna
Harper's Bazaar

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