Madonna‘s never been one to shy away from headlines — and she’s been making the news over the past few days for sure. One was a supremely fun appearance on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke session, which has already clocked more than 9 million views in a handful of days. She is the consummate entertainer par excellence, and teases and dances and sings her way through the show, and while taking post-shots at his dressing sense, demonstrating her ridiculous flexibility (not to mention propensity for sticking her limbs out moving car windows), she also revealed for the first time that she had made out with Michael Jackson back in the day.
But apart from all that regular run of the mill pop-star stuff, she made a surprising statement. “My music is rebellious, my lifestyle isn’t,” she says. She does go on to call herself square, though, so I’m thinking maybe you take that statement with a pinch of salt.
Where she really packed a punch was while picking up a Billboard Award — she hit out against sexism and misogyny, ageism and double standards.
“…There are no rules — if you’re a boy. There are rules if you’re a girl,” Madonna said, as quoted by Billboard.
For a second, that thought just did not register, did not sink in. This is Madonna we’re talking about, she who has basically been breaking every rule in the book since the ’80s. (She was excommunicated by the Vatican three times, she disclosed to Corden.) But all that badassery and trailblazing aside, even she — arguably the original queen bee of pop music — has hit up against those same old boring walls.
You can watch part of her speech here.
“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 criticized and vilified and definitely not played on the radio,” she says.
Madge isn’t done yet — she called out the double standards and asked for women to see through this…and stand together. ’
“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. And there are some very good men worth backing, but not because they’re men — because they’re worthy. 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,” she urged, as reported by Billboard.
She also mentioned some of the amazing entertainers — and contemporaries — we’ve lost along the way; Tupac, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Prince, David Bowie. She’s still standing, as she put it, one of the lucky ones.
At one point she said that the most controversial thing she’s ever done has been to stick around. It’s no mean feat that, 34 years and counting. We can’t get enough!