Madonna says she has been a victim of abuse, bullying, and sexism in her career.
After being presented with the Woman of the Year award at Billboard’s Women In Music 2016 Luncheon in New York on Friday (12.09.16), Madonna, 58, gave a passionate speech detailing the challenges she has faced.
She said: "I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer. Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.
"If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men. And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin."
Madonna also insisted she feels "lucky" to still be around, when so many music icons have passed away.
She said: "I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around. Michael is gone. Tupac is gone. Prince is gone. Whitney is gone. Amy Winehouse is gone. David Bowie is gone. But I’m still standing. I’m one of the lucky ones and every day I count my blessings."
And after encouraging women to stand up for each other, Madonna thanked her detractors for making her strong.
She said: "It’s not so much about receiving this award as it is having this opportunity to stand before you and say thank you. Not only to the people who have loved and supported me along the way, you have no idea…you have no idea how much your support means. But to the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not, that I would not or I must not — your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you."