In the article “Madonna I: Animality and Artifice,” Camille Paglia argues that Madonna is the true epitome of feminism. Aside from attempting to persuade her readers that Madonna is the future of feminism, her purpose in writing this essay is to provoke a reaction from the opposing view. As a fellow feminist and as an educator with extensive experience, Paglia structures her essay by using a Model 1 argument flow. After introducing the topic of her essay, the author admitted the validity of the opponent’s position, and then made a response against the opposition.
Paglia used an example of induction organization as she revealed her thesis at the conclusion of the essay. Paglia begins the essay by mentioning a controversial music video of Madonna that has been recently released. She begins developing her article by completely embarrassing Madonna as the artist tried to defend her new controversial video. Paglia describes how “Madonna stumbled, rambled, and ended up seeming far less intelligent that she really is” (par. 2). This is really interesting because she does acknowledge the points of the opposition; however, she is the opposition in that paragraph.
Moreover, she describes the video as “pornographic, decadent, and fabulous” (par. 4). Her description of Madonna’s video seems to be inconsistent as she points out the corruption present and still considers the music video to be remarkable without any given reason. Right there, she commits the fallacy of non sequitur. It does not follow to describe the video “fabulous” (par. 4) after drawing the idea from corruption and other irrelevant evidences. The author continues to show the readers the negativity in Madonna’s defense of her video.
This is important to observe because Paglia might have committed an oversimplification of the opponent’s position. Paglia makes fun of Madonna’s intelligence as she sarcastically agrees with Madonna maintaining that she envisioned “happy educational scenes where curious children would ask their parents about the video “(par. 7). Paglia replies “Oh, sure! Picture it: Mommy, please tell me about the tired, tied-up man in the leather harness and the mean, bare-chested lady in the Nazi cap… Okay,dear; right after the milk and cookies” (par. 7).
Paglia might have exaggerated and oversimplified the hypothetical conversation of the mother and daughter, but her mockery of Madonna’s intelligence is significant as it shows her mistakes in oversimplifying the opponent’s position. She develops her essay by introducing some feminist charges regarding “degradation and humiliation of women” (par. 8). In spite of Madonna’s failure to display competence in answering those charges from feminists, Paglia inserts her impolite defense by saying, “But who cares what the feminists say anyhow? They have been outrageously negative about Madonna from the start” (par.
9). This is a significant statement in her essay because finally, we have a better understanding on Paglia’s thesis. Aside from getting a sense of what she really is arguing about in her essay, this statement also reveals that Paglia has committed a fallacy of the argument ad hominem. She completely ignored the feminist charges on degradation and humiliation. Instead, she attacks the other feminists for their opposing view on Madonna. Furthermore, Paglia inserts another sarcastic remark as she talks about how Cyndi Lauper was awarded as the woman of the year.
She bemoans, “Great judgement: gimmickly Lauper went nowhere, while Madonna grew, flourished, metamorphosed, and became an international star of staggering dimensions. ” (par. 10) These types of ad hominem arguments are inappropriate and irrelevant to her purpose in persuading us that Madonna is the future of feminism. Moving on, Paglia commits the either or fallacy because she reduces the alternatives on the type of men that exist. Her point of view in the type of men is too narrow.
In her essay, she assumes that there are only two kinds of men; first, the “nerdy bookworm,” (par.11) and of course, the “sweaty athletic perfection” (par. 11). By doing so, she not only provokes the reaction of opposing feminists, but she also engages in topic with the masculine population. Because Madonna’s ambition is to empower women and make them equals of men, it is a significant for Paglia to involve men in her essay. Coming from a well educated background, it seems too uncommon to commit sequitur, argument ad hominem, and either or fallacies in one short essay. We can infer from the evidence that she deliberately included these fallacies to spark a reaction not only from the feminists but from the male population as well.
She then shares her views on Madonna’s vision of sex as “both the animality and the artifice” (par. 14). This is interesting because this affirms how constricted the ideas of Paglia are. While Paglia attempts to persuade her readers that “Madonna is the future of feminism,” (par. 16) she is limited to the idea that women empowerment is only grounded by sexuality. Perhaps she decided to focus on this aspect alone, but her overall effect to persuade its readers that Madonna is the epitome of feminism is not very effective.
Using an induction organization to present her thesis, she fails to persuade the readers of her ideas. Her mockery and her humiliation of Madonna’s intellectual ability have overpowered her strange manner of defense against feminist charges on Madonna. Paglia’s mistakes on non sequitur and ad hominem fallacies have made her arguments irrelevant and inappropriate. However, Paglia’s underlying objective in this subtle and complex essay is to provoke a reaction. With no doubt, Paglia has produced a controversial essay, with a controversial topic, and a provocative purpose.