Madonna: An American Icon Essay

2589 words - 10 pages

The stage is dark. Thousands of screaming fans wait in agonizing anticipation. Smoke crawls out from the stage, and out struts a confident blonde woman. With the spotlight focused entirely on her, the crowd erupts into deafening applause as she begins her incomparable dance routines. She is an icon. She is Madonna. History has never seen a cultural figure with as much controversy or flair for the dramatic as Madonna, nor will history ever see such a figure. Madonna’s name is recognized by everyone, as is evidenced in a survey taken of fifty people of varying ages (shown below). These facts alone are enough to engrave her name in pop culture history, but the making of an icon does not stop there. Madonna is the quintessential example of an American icon because of her revolutionary changes to both the worlds of music and fashion; her entire life, from her early childhood to her 50th birthday and beyond, has challenged the conventions of society and changed the face of the music industry forever.
On August 16, 1958, Madonna “Madge” Louise Veronica Ciccone was born the daughter of Silvio Ciccone and Madonna Fortin in Bay City, Michigan. As the third of six children, Madonna faced an uphill battle from birth for the attention of her engineer father and former dancer mother. She realized that in order to gain the attention of both her parents and those around her, she would have to exert her femininity to gain recognition. This realization went directly against her devout Catholic upbringing in which her parents reared her. Forced to attend Catholic masses and elementary schools, a huge portion of Madonna’s childhood revolved around Catholic values. Imagery from Catholicism would later become huge inspirations for some of Madonna’s works (“Madonna Biography” 1).
However, all was not well in Madonna’s home. Unfortunately for Madonna and her family, tragedy struck before she had even begun schooling. After a fight with breast cancer, Madonna’s mother passed away on December 1, 1963; Madonna was only five years old. With no maternal guidance to help her through adolescence, Madonna became a free spirit and began to rebel against the conventions of everyday society. One of her chief oppressors (in her eyes) was her father’s new wife, Joan Gustafson. Madonna contested her stepmother’s authority at every level and did everything in her power to avoid becoming a slave to chores and housework; Madonna even went so far as to call herself “the quintessential Cinderella.” She felt that in order to distinguish herself from the ordinary world around her, she needed to transcend tradition. Madonna took this time in her childhood to begin wearing scandalous clothing, regularly attending urban nightclubs, and rejecting her conservative upbringing. However, Madonna’s drive for perfection kept her from becoming a degenerate; she remained a straight-A student, cheerleader, and talented dancer. She excelled so greatly in her studies that she...

Find Another Essay On Madonna: An American Icon

Harley Davidson has long been an American Icon

2063 words - 8 pages -Davidson stayed the undisputed leader in the American market with over 60% of the market share and $20 million in sales.Harley-Davidson - CharmFrom the beginning, since the company first came into existence up until 1950s, Harley-Davidson had created an image of "raw power". There was a lot of aspects which set Harley-Davidson apart and created the mystique of the bikes. Let's just recognize a couple of them such as: the heavy use of chrome, the

Sojourner Truth is an icon of the most American of ideals for her activism in various areas

621 words - 2 pages integrity of her gender identity. As a woman, she declared that she was the equal of any man in her ability to work, bear pain and suffering, and determine her own future. As an African-American, Truth challenged the racist ideas that her people were morally and spiritually inferior to whites.Sojourner Truth has undoubtedly earned her place among the great and courageous figures, the leaders in the struggle for equality, in United States history. Her struggle to fight for gender and racial equality provide a powerful symbol for modern freedom movements

Law and Regulation, The Apitome of American Capitalism? The Emergance of Wall Street and New York as an International Financial Icon 1900-2002. Steele's novel "The Great Game"

1764 words - 7 pages Today, Governmental law and regulation seems to be the epitome of American capitalism. But this was not always the case; in the beginning, Wall Street was a ruthless environment with almost no laws or regulatory measures. Fraud, bribes, insider trading, market corners and an overall lack of precise accounting created a tremendously unbalanced market in which small shareholders were the primary losers. Men such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould


1160 words - 5 pages -published soft core pornography book, entitled "Sex". Anyone who has done the math can figure out that Madonna's days as an active sexual icon are becoming numbered; add to that her relatively new role as responsible mother, and you now see a new, cleaned up version of Madonna emerging to take her through the next decade. The current generation just seems so weak compared to the gains made up until Madonna. don't constitute great jumps

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone: One of the Most Influential American Icons in the 21st Century

801 words - 3 pages , we can conclude that Madonna’s career is still in its maturity stage. Brand Image Brand image describes how a customer perceives the product (Solomon, 2008). Customers see Madonna as an American icon and often associate her with the goddess of sex (Grant, 2008). Madonna’s ever changing style has brought her much attention and people perceived her as “always at the forefront of a new trend” (Cengage, 2003). Madonna started the “wannabes


1169 words - 5 pages soft core pornography book, entitled "Sex".Anyone who has done the math can figure out that Madonna's days as an active sexual icon are becoming numbered; add to that her relatively new role as responsible mother, and you now see a new, cleaned up version of Madonna emerging to take her through the next decade.The current generation just seems so weak compared to the gains made up until Madonna. don't constitute great jumps in feminine power

Music in the Making

1719 words - 7 pages America has a judgmental society. Madonna attended a catholic school, and in junior high, she began taking dance classes. After high school, Madonna moved to New York City and started posing for nudes while waiting for a break into the entertainment business. Miley Cyrus started her career as a child star and now she is known as a reckless icon. Cyrus caught herself in the middle of a controversy for modeling in revealing images for fame. In

Madonna: A Feminist and an Entertainer

2176 words - 9 pages skirts, headbands, cone bras, rubber bracelets, religious jewelry and leggings that influenced mainstream American culture. Many women imitated her and wished to have an attitude like her. Almost everything she did, women were inspired by her and imitated her. They idolized her success for being bold and a trendsetter and sought to do the same. Madonna influenced the popular culture with her ideas and opinions on what is beautiful. Madonna

Mtv And The Madonna Phenomenon

1983 words - 8 pages culture and especially on media culture could never be complete without bringing up Madonna. She can be discussed in terms of feminism, ideology, hegemony and commercialism as seen in both Kaplan's as well as in John Fiske's article on British Cultural Studies.      In order to properly explain how the “Madonna Phenomenon” has become such an important concept in media studies, one must look first at how influential MTV

Raphael: The Madonna of the Candelabra

887 words - 4 pages and 1514, and stands 25 3/16 by 25 7/8 inches. The Madonna of the Candelabra is a part of the permanent collection of the Walters Art Museum located in Baltimore, Maryland. When purchased by collector Henry Walters in the early 1900’s it was the first Raphael Madonna to be incorporated into an American collection( This painting was originally in the Borghese Collection in Rome, and changed hands numerously before it reached its

Influence of a Legend: Marilyn Monroe Discusses Marilyn's life and her influence through the years. Includes bibliography and outline

1780 words - 7 pages body was found dead in her home. It was an apparent overdose from sleeping pills. Marilyn's beauty, sex appeal, and tragic death have made her a legend who grows over time. Marilyn Monroe's status as a sex symbol and popular icon has greatly impacted many artists since her time, including Andy Warhol, Madonna, and even Britney Spears.Norma Jeane was a shy girl. "She was addictive-so beautiful" (Mailer 192). Norma Jeane had been abused countless

Similar Essays

Barbie: An American Icon Essay

2865 words - 11 pages itself about Barbie. Barbie is 'the icon" of womanhood and the twentieth century (Ducille 50). She is the American dream (Varney 161). Barbie is us" (Lord 17). The question is always the same: What message does Barbie send? Barbie is a toy. She is the image of what we see. At her inception in 1959, Barbie created a wave of fear among the general male population as well as the conservative population because she inspired little girls to break away

Henry Ford: An American Icon Essay

1747 words - 7 pages Henry Ford: An American Icon It takes a very brave person to take a leader role and make the world a better place. Ford treated each and every one of his workers with respect. In return, the workers gave Ford all they had and one-hundred percent on anything and everything they did. Henry Ford did not just step up and make himself look good, he helped the country and even the entire world by chasing his dreams. Even from a young age, he set out

Mc Donalds: An American Icon Essay

1496 words - 6 pages The largest of the fast food companies have forever cemented themselves into the American culture and they are fully aware of that fact. Written on a McDonald’s paper tray liner is their statement to this knowledge; “I think about great memories from my past. Road Trips, friends, study breaks and lots of laughs. Anytime nostalgia sets in, I know it’s not too long before I’ll be going to McDonald’s for a Big Mac. Someday in the future, when I’m

An All American Icon, A Hero, And A Legend

1138 words - 5 pages How do you see Marilyn Monroe? A fake? A whore? An inspiration, or even a hero? How much do you really know about her? First lets start with some background information. Marilyn Monroe’s birth name is Norma Jean Baker, She is most known for being a major sex symbol, an actress, singer, and model. Why do I think she’s heroic? Above everything, her childhood was a nightmare, and she was still a very strong woman, but ill get to that later