Madonna was once “willfully out of step with the times.” When she started her career in the early ‘80s, her body was fleshy and voluptuous. In a word: natural. She was a “model of resistance,” wrote Susan Bordo in her landmark book, Unbearable Weight. But succumbing to mainstream pressure, she “normalized” her body shortly after marrying Sean Penn in 1987, becoming lean and muscular.
Madonna was then in her mid-twenties. Now, at forty-eight years old, she can still easily stir insecurity in women her own age, not to mention women in their twenties.