How do bad girls get away with it? How did Madonna, subject of public outcry for her controversial performances and her book Sex, become a superstar of pop culture and a role model for teenage girls? Why now, as star of Evita and a new mother, is she becoming a mainstream hero?
Karlene Faith says that Madonna signifies the times we live in. We are, in a sense, all responsible for who Madonna is. As fans, moral critics, media journalists, or university scholars, we mediate what she means to our society. And Madonna, as a shrewd career woman, has known how to exploit our attentions with her multiple talents. Her representation of sexual practices and values has not taken place in a political or social vacuum. She has counted on our readiness to witness the smashing of cultural taboos. Feminist reactions to Madonna have been divided. In her early career Madonna was a teenage role model, applauded as a liberated sex crusader. Later, she raised eyebrows by portraying cynical sex with multiple partners across identity boundaries and by capitalizing on sadomasochistic imagery.
Madonna, Bawdy & Soul is a celebration and critical analysis of Madonna from a feminist perspective. It will, like Madonna, provoke controversy among fans, critics, and scholars. The book includes a comprehensive listing of songs, videos, tours, films, stage roles, and Internet sites.