The Queen of Pop is at it again. Madonna loves touting a gun or wearing fishnets and spandex at an age when most of us prefer to cover up. But her latest outfit is more controversial still. She has been pictured wearing a chainmail mask resembling a niqab – a face veil worn by Muslim women. The star posted a photo from her forthcoming photo-shoot with Harper’s Bazaar magazine on Instagram and Facebook, accompanied by the words: “The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah [Arabic for ‘God willing’].”
It is unclear what message Madonna, who is well known for her humanitarian work with women in developing countries and as an exponent of the Kabbalah religion, meant to send via her new look. Some fans have interpreted the chainmail mask as a message of empowerment to women, but one Instagram user said: “You thing this message is empowering to women?…If this was a woman who really wanted to empower other females she could do this in many other ways…When did gagging women make them feel good?” Other fans have suggested that Madonna’s chainmail mask is a direct criticism of the oppression suffered by women in some Islamic countries.
Bill Paul Buttuls wrote on Facebook: “Are you saying the burqa is ‘trapping’ women?” while Ccim Le Bon commented: “Burqa covers even the eyes…and this is the NIQAB…the message is not clear…what do you mean queen?”
While the majority of fans posted positive comments about the outfit, and the odd joke about the Queen of Pop raiding Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, others found the photograph “disappointing” and “ reductive”.