madonna

For over 30 years Madonna has used her music to challenge gender norms, expectations of sexuality, and, most recently, ageism. On Friday Madonna received the Woman of the Year Award at the Billboard Women in Music event, and she didn't waste the opportunity to use her acceptance speech to address all those things we know her best for.

Madonna, who is the highest grossing female touring artist of all time, discussed the "blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse" she experienced throughout her career, and especially focused on age discrimination.

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"To age is a sin," she said. “You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio."

The speech was incredibly blunt – even for Madonna – about the double standards for women in society, and in the music industry. But the urgent message is not all that surprising given the current climate around women's rights after the presidential election.

In the closing portion of her speech Madonna addressed women directly, and offered advice to her fellow female musicians.

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"What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done," Madonna said. "As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other's worth. 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."

Photo: Billboard

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