Madonna might be one of the most well-known singers in the world, but at Billboard’s Women in Music event on Friday, she called herself “a doormat” and slammed misogyny in her acceptance speech for her Woman of the Year award.
“I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer,” said the artist.
Madonna said her award was more for her self-preservation in the music industry than anything else: “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.”
The singer also talked about how she was inspired by David Bowie’s career, but then she realized how different her circumstances were from the late artist.
“He made me think there were no rules,” she said. “But I was wrong. There are no rules -- if you’re a boy. There are rules if you’re a girl.”
Madonna talked about how women are expected to be “pretty and cute and sexy” but not “too smart,” and definitely not sexually liberated. She added, “And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticized and vilified and definitely not played on the radio.”
Watch Madonna’s emotional speech below.