Madonna Woman of the Year Speech: the Bad Feminist

“In life there is no real safety except self belief.” Madonna.

It’s wonderful to see Madonna being recognised for the talent she is, as Billboard’s Woman of the Year 2016. Her acceptance speech just makes me love her more. She touches on the way that women are put in lose-lose situations in life as well as the music world. She talks about her personal struggles as a woman in the big bad world of late Seventies New York city. Being held up at gunpoint, being raped at knifepoint, being burgled countless times and heartbreakingly, losing all her close friends to Aids, drugs and gunshots. Madonna should win the award for the Goddess of survival, not just in terms of her 34 year career at the top of the music business, but in life. People have died from suffering a lot less.

Madonna expresses concerns about the post-real-life world we now live in, thanks to the internet. About how accessible vulnerable human beings aka celebrities are open to personal attacks and bullying via online forums and social media. The Queen of artistic reinvention, was called upon by circumstance to reinvent feminism aka “Bad Feminism” when Camille Paglia criticised her sexual expression. Madonna is a triumph over “blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying, relentless abuse.” She pays tribute to David Bowie and criticises the game women are forced to play in the music industry. When she started out she didn’t think about feminism, she says, “I just wanted to be an artist.” According to Madonna- the winner of this game- the rules (for women, but not men) are as follows:

  1. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy, but don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion. Don’t have an opinion that’s not aligned with the status quo at least.
  2. 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.
  3. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men.
  4. And finally, do not age, because to age is a sin. You will be criticised. You will be vilified. And you will definitely NOT be played on the radio.

Madonna talks about being compared to Satan in the papers for doing exactly the same thing as her male counterparts such as Prince. She claims that the most controversial thing she has ever done is to stick around.

With this speech, Madonna has become the Grrrls With Guitars Woman of the Year too.


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