cover image Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop

Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop

Edited by Laura Barcella, foreword by Jessica Valenti. Soft Skull (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59376-429-6

As freelance writer Valenti observes in the intro to this collection of essays, “When it comes to Madonna, there’s nary a woman who lacks for an opinion.... She’s not stagnant, so why should any of our thoughts about her be?” Jamia Wilson condemns the efforts of Catholic organizations to “crucify Madonna,” noting, “I respect the way she has transformed our culture and changed our conversation about the inextricable linkage of religion, sexuality, and the feminine divine.... She is a saint and a sinner, the mirror of us all.” Kristin McGonigle reflects, “We both came from a Catholic upbringing where sexuality was oppressed and women came into adulthood with a confused and shameful sense of their relationship to their bodies and sex.” Marisela Huerta recalls, “Even mentioning sex in our house was taboo, but Madonna showed me it was OK for a woman to express her sexuality, OK for a woman to be successful, independent of a man.” Such redundancies abound in these essays, but they amplify the influence the performer had on a generation. She rose to fame when many of these women were entering their teens, and these memoirs reveal that Madonna’s mix of spirituality and raw sensuality had a considerable impact in shaping attitudes. (Mar.)