With nearly 14 million Instagram followers and a pretty much daily posting habit, Madonna hardly seems like an opponent of the social media platform.
But as she explained in a recent interview with The Sun and the “Dan Wooten Podcast,” she’s not a fan of anything that locks people into worrying about who they should be instead of simply being who they are.
“You get caught up in comparing yourself to others,” she said. “Should I be like that, act like that, look like that? Will that make me more popular, or more successful? I think Instagram is made to make you feel bad. People are really a slave to winning people’s approvals.”
Given that stance, it might seem odd that Madge — or, as she’s positing herself this month in the interest of her new album, “Madame X” — still uses Instagram and Twitter as much as she does. But she seems to feel less vulnerable to social media’s perceived threats to happiness.
“I was lucky enough to have a life as an artist before the phone and Instagram and social media because I did have that time to develop as an artist and a human without feeling the pressure of judgment of other people or comparing myself to other people,” she explains.
Young people on the edge of success and fame today, by contrast, have more of a challenge, according to Madonna, who believes that’s partly because social media culture “runs people’s lives” making it harder to “stick to your guns and be who you are.”
And that’s largely what “Madame X” represents — the side of Madonna that pushes past the insecurities she harbored when she was younger about what she could reveal and who she really was.
Says the singer: “I refuse to bend a knee to convention and what society expects of me as a woman.”
She hopes her kids, particularly her eldest daughter, 22-year-old Lourdes, are able to adopt a similar outlook.
“I feel bad for young people who haven’t had the opportunity to develop their character and who they want to be,” she says, adding that she urges Lourdes to “stop being so consumed with the way you look or how people are going to compare you to me.”
Madonna’s not the only celeb who’s active on social media in spite of having conflicted beliefs about its value.
For years, Jennifer Lawrence talked trash about social media, saying, as she did on BBC Radio 1 in 2014, “the Internet has scorned” her to the point where she’s “like that girl in high school [who’s] like, ‘You wanna talk about her? I’ll take my hoops off, I’m ready to go.” Then, last year, she revealed she was secretly on social media.
Selena Gomez also uses caution when it comes to sharing on social media platforms. She’s been the most popular celebrity on Instagram but she’s also taken long periods away from the platform and deleted all traces of relationships like her on-off romance with Justin Bieber.
“I think our world is going through a lot,” she told Variety at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. “I would say for my generation, specifically, social media has really been terrible. It does scare me when you see how exposed these young boys and young girls are. They are not aware of the news. I think it’s dangerous for sure. I don’t think people are getting the right information sometimes.”
She added that she likes to “be intentional” with her use of social media:”It just scares me. I’ll see these young girls at meet and greets. They are devastated, dealing with bullying and not being able to have their own voice. It can be great in moments. I would be careful and allow yourself some time limits of when you should use it.”