After turning up 4 hours late to a concert in Melbourne and then 2 and a half hours late for a concert in Brisbane, Madonna pulled a random 17 year old woman up from the crowd and proceeded to pull down her top on stage, exposing her breast.
Josephine Georgiou, a 17 year old aspiring Australian model and barista has called the incident, “the best moment of [her] life.”
Which raises some questions.
The video of the event has gone viral and everyone’s chiming in. UK commentator Piers Morgan was quoted saying, “Madonna is in total meltdown. She needs to cancel this tour asap.” For context, Madonna is locked in a sticky battle for custody over her 15 year old son with her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie. Many fans and journalists believe that the incident, as well as her apparently habitual lateness on this tour, is a direct result of a personal crisis.
Whether or not Madonna is emotionally equipped to continue her Rebel Heart Tour is only a piece of the puzzle. Madonna gets to make that decision, until she becomes a risk to anyone other than herself. Male and female journalists are free to weigh in, but the fact is that Madonna has control of her own decisions, professionally, artistically, and personally.
The bottom line is: does Josephine Georgiou feel violated by the event and does she have the ability to control how the story is interpreted by the media?
Georgiou, upon being questioned by the press, has expressed the opinion that, “Only [she] gets to decide if [she is] humiliated or not, why would people assume [she is] humiliated by [her] own breast, nipple, or body?”
The age of consent, and thus the ability to rate whether or not the exposure was in fact a sexual assault, is 16 in Australia. Georgiou is really the only person who gets to decide whether having her corset-style top pulled down on stage is okay.
She says it is.
Was Madonna’s prelude to the incident bizarre? Absolutely. After pulling Georgiou on stage, Madonna said, “She’s the kind of girl you want to slap on the ass. Oh shit. Sorry. Sexual harassment. You can do the same to me if you like.”
Let us not forget that Madonna has been fighting for women’s rights to take control of their sexuality for 30 years. If Georgiou is on board with the exposure being an owning of her sexual empowerment, rather than a surprise, non-consensual event, we should be too.
But what do I know? I’m just another journalist. What do you think?