In a rambling, sixteen-minute speech, delivered upon being given a trophy at the Billboard Women in Music awards night, Madonna presented herself a victim of misogyny, sexism and bullying. She also complained of "ageism" in Hollywood.

Camille Paglia (an early fan of Madonna's) says that the real problem is that Madonna and other stars refuse to age gracefully–they cling to youth. And if they are victims, it is of the gender redefinitions of the 1960s that left them believing men are the enemy. In today's must-read article, Paglia writes:

The main problem facing today's aging women is not sexism but the lingering youth cult of the 1960s. Traditional mating patterns have been disrupted: Marriage is postponed by extended education and early career demands. Because of easy divorce, middle-aged women are now competing with younger women for both men and jobs — and thus are resorting to costly interventions to look 20 years younger than they are.

If aging stars want to be taken seriously, they must find or recover a mature persona. Stop cannibalizing the young! Scrambling to stay relevant, Madonna is addicted to pointless provocations like her juvenile Instagrams or her trashy outfit with strapped-up bare buttocks and duct-taped nipples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala in May. She has forgotten the legacy of her great precursor, Marlene Dietrich, who retained her class and style to the end of her public life.

In her Billboard Awards speech, Madonna oddly cited David Bowie as her "real muse." But Bowie did not cling to his revolutionary, gender-bending Ziggy Stardust in the way that Madonna doggedly regresses to the sassy street urchin of her 1980s debut. Bowie retired Ziggy after a single sensational year and evolved into other personae, such as the suave, enigmatic Thin White Duke. Neither Dietrich nor Bowie would have begun an event as Madonna did after Anderson Cooper handed her the Billboard trophy: "We already had sex with a banana" and (about her microphone) "I always feel better with something hard between my legs."

. . .

Most disappointing about Madonna's speech [at the Billboard Women in Music awards dinner] was her collapse into rote male-bashing, which has escalated in Hollywood and surely will increase its cultural isolation from the national audience. The young Madonna was refreshingly sane in her teasing affection for men. Top movie actresses once projected an emotional depth, composure and adult authority that can only be called womanliness. Ingrid Bergman, Susan Hayward, Elizabeth Taylor, Deborah Kerr and Sophia Loren were no victims: They're strong-willed personalities — onscreen and off. But all of them liked men, and it showed.

Women in or out of Hollywood who dress like girls and erase all signs of aging are disempowering themselves and aggressing into territory that belongs to the young. They are surrendering their right of self-definition to others. Men are not the enemy: They, too, are subject to nature's iron laws. For the sake of its own art, Hollywood needs less sex war, not more.

Read the whole article.