Madonna getting brutally honest about sexism is 100% inspiring

“I stand before you as a doormat…Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer.”

From her opening lines, Madonna clearly intended to use her speech at the Billboard Women in Music 2016 event in New York on Friday to speak her mind on everything from sexism to ageing. The pop icon was Billboard’s Woman of the Year.

Always shape shifting and never boring, Madonna has evolved the narrow role women in music are meant to play, but it has not been easy.

“Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse,” she continued.

Throughout her remarks, Madonna spoke openly about her eventful life and career, sharing plenty of wisdom.

She addressed her rape as a young woman in New York, a deeply personal subject she has spoken about previously, as well as the loss of many friends to AIDS. From these tragic events, she learnt vulnerability and power: “There is no real safety, except self belief,” she said.

Subject throughout her career to judgment based on her appearance and transgressive art and music, Madonna pointed again and again to the music industry’s double standards.

“There are no rules, if you’re a boy,” she said. “If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. What is that game? You are allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy, but don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion.

“You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness and do not — do not, I repeat — share your own sexual fantasies with the world.”

For the crime of enjoying her career, body and sexuality into her 50s, Madonna has been roundly criticised by male pundits as well as other women. 

On Friday, she was clear about the hurtful message being sent: “Do not age. Because to age is a sin.”

“I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around,” she added. “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.”

In the face of such challenges, Madonna advised turning to other women, according to Billboard. “Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by,” she said.

Speaking with Billboard on the red carpet before the ceremony, Madonna’s mind was firmly on political matters. “In this particular time especially, I do want to fight for not only human rights, but for women’s rights,” she explained.

So would she ever run for president? “Maybe,” joked the avowed Hillary Clinton supporter. “It depends how much abuse I’m willing to take.” 

As Madonna well knows, there’s no respite for outspoken women in any industry.

BONUS: Selena Gomez makes triumphant return with this powerful speech at the AMAs

from Mashable!