Saturday, April 04, 2009

Madonna and Child

*NB written before the decision of the Malawi court yesterday.

So Madonna wants to adopt another baby – this time an absolutely gorgeous four year old girl from Malawi called Mercy James.
The wee tot is a picture of beauty, with huge innocent eyes and gorgeously chubby wee legs. Heck, if I wasn’t all babied out myself at the moment I’d want to take her home with me.
But the thing is Mercy James has a family – a grandmother who desperately wants to keep her and uncles who do not want the child to leave the country of her birth to live in America.
This is not about, for them, the fact that Madonna is a megastar and may or may not be a bad influence on their beloved Mercy.
It is not the case that they are so blind-sighted they do not want the child to have the best of everything. It’s just that they know something that a lot of really should – that having everything money can buy is far from the same thing as having everything a child wants or needs.
Madonna used to be a hero of mine. In fact in the first album I ever owned was ‘True Blue’ and I’d prance around our house having a good old sing song to myself about someone’s love fitting me like a glove. I thought her songs innocent.
(Although I admit I never felt comfortable singing ‘Like a Virgin’ in front of anyone. I hadn’t a baldy notion what a virgin was – apart from some vague notion of Our Lady – but I knew it was not the kind of song my parents would appreciate their eight year old singing as her party piece either).
I spent many a night swirling around to ‘La Isla Bonita’ or singing about getting myself into the groove. I even stood by my hero during her controversial ‘Like a Prayer’ days when she got into all sorts of hot water for cavorting with a Jesus figure in the video.
But then, you see, she got a bit, well, sluttish. And it all appeared a little desperate. It no longer seemed like she was a woman championing equality and the power of the female sex. It just seemed like increasingly she was a sad old baggage stripping off to sell records. It seemed as if she was causing controversy for the sake of causing controversy. And while she still had the occasional good record, she certainly wasn’t the kind of person who would look at and automatically point out as good mother material.
She has not slowed down on her career path one jot – and while, of course, I’m all for working mothers there has to be a time when any of us with responsibility for young children makes certain sacrifices. Oh yes, still work. Oh yes, still bring out records. Oh no, please do not strip off to your scanties and talk graphically about your personal sexual preferences.
And please, while your babies are young, put them first – don’t run around the world promoting your music like a single woman with no commitments. Your children need you more than your fan base does. And if you can’t be there for your children then why have more?
It feels, at the moment, if her bid to adopt Mercy James is just one more attempt to court controversy – one more dramatic, headline grabbing plot to increase her profile.
I’m not for one second saying she should not adopt children. I’m not for one second saying that to take on someone else’s child is not a great and noble thing but you have to question Madonna’s methods and motives.
She is asking that, for the second time, the laws and practices of a country be bent and changed to suit her needs and wants. She is expecting to be handed a child – and seems to have no regard for what that child’s birth family want. In short she is running rough shod over the feelings not only of a family but of a nation and I have to say the whole thing smacks of an unprecedented level of arrogance.
We have to ask ourselves why this child? Why, when there are hundreds of orphans with no birth families in Malawi does Mercy James fit the Madonna profile? Why, when there are indeed many young children in the UK and America in need of adoptive homes does Madonna seemed determined to have this child, and only this child? Is it that she is approaching the whole thing like you would a shopping trip?
Is that she is so used to getting her own way, she can’t imagine anyone ever saying no to her? Not even a whole country?
That in itself marks her out as not great parent material – not to this little girl anyway. I hope Mercy James finds happiness. I hope that if Madonna does adopt her she is loved and cherished as all four year olds should be. I hope that Madonna proves me wrong – even if I’m certain she doesn’t give a flying fig what I or anyone else thinks.
But I hope, more so, that the wants and needs of Mercy’s family are taken into consideration as indeed are the laws of Malawi and that this superstar doesn’t get what she wants just because she makes a big enough fuss and throws around enough money.
Children are not commodities to be bought and sold. They are precious gifts – whether you give birth to them yourself or adopt them. Madonna would do well to remember that.

2 comments:

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

Amen. Well said.

Penelope said...

VERY well said! *Applauds*

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