Madonna is speaking out about her own experience being bullied in school, her views on the "cult of celebrity" and being constantly reminded of her age.
The pop star graces the December cover of Harper's Bazaar -- on newsstands November 29 -- and gives an interview in which she talks about her self-directed movie W.E. and other aspects of her life. The film, which hits theaters December 9, is the story of Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée for whom British monarch King Edward VIII famously abdicated the throne in 1936.
"The movie is all about the cult of celebrity," Madonna said. "We like to
put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they
step outside of that shrine-like area that we blocked out for them, then
we will punish them. Wallis Simpson became famous by default, by
capturing the heart of the king, but it's obviously a subject I'm
constantly on the inside of, and the outside of."
The music icon said her experience as a celebrity is not that different from the way she felt growing up. "For some reason, I feel like I never left high school, because I still feel that if you don't fit in, you're going to get your ass kicked. That hasn't really changed for me. I've always been acutely aware of differences and the way you are supposed to act if you want to be popular."
Madonna said while in high school, she recognized that girls had to behave a certain way to get boys. "I knew I couldn't fit into that. So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits." As a result, she said she felt "tortured" and boys would make fun of her and call her names. "'Hairy monster.' You know, things like that."
The 53-year-old singer said she doesn't understand why the media always has to focus on her age. "I find whenever someone writes anything about me, my age is right after my name. It's almost like they're saying, 'Here she is, but remember she's this age, so she's not that relevant anymore.' Or 'Let's punish her by reminding her and everyone else.' When you put someone's age down, you're limiting them." She says her main focus is to just have fun and ignore what is said. "To continue to be a provocateur, to do what we perceive as the realm of young people, to provoke, to be rebellious, to start a revolution."
Madonna, who is currently in a relationship with young French dancer Brahim Zaibat, spoke about what is important to her in a man. "Someone to share my inner life with -- that's extremely important. It's also important that my children admire and respect this partner that I would choose for myself."