Postmodernism asserts that awareness, knowledge, human, objects, goodness and rightness is but cultural constructions. Under postmodernism, there is no objective truth and everyone constructs their own narratives. Postmodernism has had a large impact on the arts, education, philosophy and many other spheres even leading to creation of postmodernism icons. Madonna has been considered as postmodernism icons by her uncanny ability to change her image, but in reality she is more of a conservative as these changes espouse by her capitalistic characteristics as they are intended to satisfy the needs of her fans for material gain.
This article aims at identifying whether Madonna can be claimed rightly to be an icon of postmodernism or whether she is a conservative capitalist passing herself off as a postmodernist. By analyzing the article “Madonna as Icon Leftist Rebel or Poster Girl for capitalism” by Sexton, appearing in associated content, the paper supports the assertion that Madonna’s characteristics clearly depict her as more of a conservative capitalist than a postmodernism icon.
While Madonna represents a leftist image as illustrated by her being represented as a liberal icon, she is in fact a conservative as espoused by her capitalistic streak that form the basis of her ever-changing image. Sexton asserts that “Madonna is on the conservative, capitalist side” (Sexton, 2006).Supporting this argument, Sexton adds that while Madonna has portrayed herself as a rebel and a liberal who plays by no particular rules, conversely she plays within the rules of capitalism. One such rule that was identified by Marx and Althusser is the capitalists need for creation of new and often false needs to be sold to consumers, which Madonna has managed to create through her consistent and constant reinvention of her image aimed at creating new needs among her fans. Madonna thus though argued to be a postmodern icon as evidenced in her uncanny ability to change self image, is not in reality a postmodernism icon as her changes in image are aimed at meeting the conservative end of capitalism, which she manages through image shifts to create new needs among her fans. Madonna thus has managed to create a successful image as a postmodernist rebel under various guises while out rightly practicing conservative economics. Sexton argues that Madonna has mastered the element of interpellation, which is key to survival of capitalism. Interpellation involves positioning of subjects such that they respond when called and by successfully positioning herself as a rebel, Madonna has interpellated the society to accept or reject the image she presents of herself depending on how it feels about the image (Sexton, 2006). This further illustrates her streak as a conservative capitalist.
The article thus concludes that while Madonna has continued to portray herself as a postmodernist icon, in actual sense this image is just a mere surface glean with capitalism being her main endeavor.