A transition in the music
and the argument came when Madonna herself appeared -- not in
"virginal" white, but in a tight black suit.
She immediately assumed
a more "masculine" role in the number, dancing with
both women and leading them through steps and through the lyrics
to one of her new singles. The visual argument was one of progression:
Britney and Christina were the new young pop stars; Madonna
herself had moved on to a more mature, assertive role.
So how does the kiss fit
in? As the final moment in this skit, it was at the same time
narcissistic (Madonna kissing images of her younger self), heterosexual
(Madonna as male kissing B & C as female) and homosexual
(these were, afterall, women kissing). It spoke to how far Madonna
had come in terms of her music, power dynamics, and her own
sexuality. Or, you could argue, it was just a "hook"
to a TV show, or a publicity stunt to drum up sales on Madonna's
Obviously, the kisses
spoke loudly to the viewing public -- or at least one of them
did. Did you ever think about why it was that the popular press
ran the image of Madonna kissing Britney much more prominently
than that of Madonna kissing Christina? Think about what argument
one image makes rather than the other.
In analyzing images in this
way, what you're doing is analyzing VISUAL
RHETORIC: the way the images work on their own and
collaborate with written text to create an argument designed to
move a specific audience.
Image sources: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1025000/images/_1027940_madonna150.jpg