''Glamazons' of Pop: The Enigma of the Female Military-Styled Pop Star: Kate Bush and Madonna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Female pop stars adopting a military look transform themselves by taking on archetypically male qualities, while at the same time assuming these same qualities for reasons by turns ironical, aggressive and 'caring.' But if there is an essential difference between the military look of the female pop star and that of the male, what does it consist in? In this brief review of pop 'glamazons,' I deal mainly with Kate Bush and Madonna. Both pushed boundaries in mainstream popular music by their lyrics and imagery. Art pop star Kate Bush has performed as a gun-slinging space cowgirl on the 'Tour of Life' (1979), engaged in field combat in 'Army Dreamers' and figured as an archetypal female warrior in 'Babooshka' (both: 1980). Pop rock star Madonna appeared smartly in a military greatcoat with epaulettes and big, brassy buttons in 'The Girlie Show' (1993), but had to pull her 'American Life' anti-war fashion statement (2003), while returning to military style on her 'Re-Invention tour' (2004). Paradoxes in the military-styled performances of both women are touched on; especially intriguing is that of a red, white and blue bikini-clad, caped and combat-booted Madonna, in her 'Rock the Vote' TV-spot (1990). In comparing Kate Bush and Madonna, I consider what their military look consisted in - including historical and mythological connotations, and whether the object was aesthetic or political, as well as how it could relate to what is being expressed in the lyrics. Were there common motives behind Kate's and Madonna's military looks?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFashion-Wise
EditorsMaria Vaccarella, Jacque Lynn Foltyn
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Publication date2013
EditioneBook
Pages79-90
ISBN (Print)978-1-84888-160-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84888-160-0
Publication statusPublished - 2013
SeriesCritical Issues Series 'Ethos'

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