Madonna was honoured as Woman of the Year at Billboard’s Women In Music 2016 event and she did not hold back in her acceptance speech.
She said she has been a victim of abuse, bullying, and sexism in her career.
“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,” she said, according to Billboard.
Madonna talked about a lesson she thought she learned from David Bowie but later found out didn’t quite apply to her.
She said: “I was of course inspired by Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin, but my real muse was David Bowie.
“He embodied male and female spirit and that suited me just fine. He made me think there were no rules. But I was wrong. There are no rules — if you’re a boy. There are rules if you’re a girl.
“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. You will be criticised and vilified and definitely not played on the radio.”
Closing her speech, Madonna offered thanks to her detractors saying: “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.”