The singer defended her Grammys red carpet flap in a recent interview.
Credit: Photos: Madonna at the  Getty Images

Stripping down for a cover story in Interview magazine. Flashing her bare (well, fishnet-covered) derriere on the Grammys red carpet. Madonna is back, and she’s up to her usual antics.

Of course, not everyone is enjoying the show. Hey, it wouldn’t be Madonna if there wasn't controversy, right? But this time around, the outrage seems different, smacking not only of prudishness, but of ageism as well—something that the singer acknowledged in a recent interview with New York Daily News music critic Jim Farber.

This is what my ass looks like—show me what your ass looks like when you’re 56,” she said (and we’re guessing not in a demure way). “I take care of myself. I’m in good shape. I can show my ass when I’m 56, or 66—or 76. Who’s to say when I can show my ass? It’s sexism. It’s ageism. And it’s kind of discrimination.”

Sexism? I'm not quite buying it—not unless people are clamoring to see Steven Tyler walking the red carpet wearing only chaps. But she’s right about the ageism part. Nowadays, when Rihanna or Miley show up at an event half-dressed we hardly bat an eye. So when people get their panties in a bunch after Madonna does the same, you’ve got to believe it’s less about bare flesh and more about a "She doesn’t know her place" mentality. As if a Gucci pantsuit or a Donna Karan gown would somehow be more…appropriate at this stage of her life.

As if. Years ago, female celebs of a “certain age” were seemingly banished to sipping Mai Tais on the Lido Deck of the Love Boat. But Madonna is having none of that. This is one woman who’s refusing to go gentle into that good night. Nope, this girl is going down fighting—or at very least being dragged off the stage by an over-eager backup dancer.

You might think that Madonna’s derriere isn’t something we need to see. (To be honest, I’m not sure I loved her southern exposure any more than I relished seeing Rihanna’s “peek-a-boo” gown at CFDA Awards last June.) But maybe that’s the point. Maybe it's not all that bad to see that the butt of a 50-plus woman—who burst onto the music scene before the fall of the Berlin Wall—can look as good (probably better) than that of some fit 20-year-old. Put another way: She who flashes, flashes because she can.

Besides, this is what Madonna does: she provokes. It’s not as though she has a lot left to cross off her brazen bucket list at this point. S&M Heidi. Writhing onstage in a wedding gown. Ticking off David Letterman with her potty mouth. Dating Dennis Rodman. Check. Check. Check. And Check. When a girl has pretty much done it all, she has to find new ways to be creative.

So there we have it: Madonna. Pushing the envelope, pushing buttons, and, yet again, changing the way the game is played—one butt cheek at a time.