ISTM that Madonna, and the sympathetic writer of the article, miss the point in attributing unease with Madonna’s continued persona to ageism and sexism. These would apply if Madonna’s erotic appeal was still the same as when she was younger, but people rejected her anyway based on a cultural discomfort with an older woman in that role. But to the extent that her looks have actually faded, then that’s just life. It’s as if an aging athlete who couldn’t perform at his old level anymore insisted he keep the same starring role on his team because it would be ageism to bench or waive him. And if such a player insists on playing the game at a level where he’s clearly outmatched, people would cringe just the same as they do at Madonna.
[Of course the above assumes that Madonna’s looks have in fact faded. If it were possible to objectively ascertain that she looks as attractive and erotic as she ever did, then she would have a point.]
The “sexist” argument has a bit more going for it, as men can keep erotic roles at older ages. But that too seems to be nature and life, and seems correlated with male fertility lasting longer than female.
Bottom line for people like Madonna is that if you live by the sword you die by the sword, and if your appeal is based on people enjoying seeing you “show[ing your] (expletive)” then you might find at some point that this has less appeal. No one can stop you from doing it anyway, but you can’t make them enjoy it either, and if your business is based on them enjoying it, then that might be tough for you.
This seems pretty straightforward, but the “double-standard” WRT romantic roles in movies and the like seems to be a pretty common notion, so worth a comment.