The icon was honoured for her 34 year career in the music industry.
Madonna delivered a powerful speech on music industry sexism on Friday night when she was honoured as Woman of the Year at Billboard's Women In Music 2016 event.
Reflecting on her over 30 year career, the Queen of Pop spoke about the obstacles she had to overcome to be recognised and to stay relevant after three decades in the music industry.
Madonna, Billboard's Woman of the Year
"I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer," she began. "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."
Madonna then acknowledged David Bowie as her main muse, adding: “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,” she continued.
“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.”
Speaking directly to the women in the audience, the 58-year-old said they have to start appreciating their own worth and each other's worth and seek out strong women to befriend and be inspired by.
Concluding her speech Madonna addressed the doubters and naysayers she had endured throughout her career, adding: “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."
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