Madonna called out the rampant industry double standards in her Billboard Woman of the Year speech.
Madonna attended Billboard's Women in Music ceremony on Friday where she accepted the organization's most distinguished award, the Woman of the Year Award. In the wide-ranging speech, Madonna spoke on sexism and misogyny in the music industry and spoke on her own status as a legacy artist.
"I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean a female entertainer," she said. "Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse."
She spoke on how her idol was David Bowie, who led her to believe that there were "no rules," but soon learned that this applied only to men.
"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. Don't have an opinion that is out of line with the status quo, at least," she explained, of what she has learned from the business. "You're allowed to be objectified by men, and dressed like a slut, but don't own your sluttiness, and do not, I repeat, do not share your own sexual fantasies with the world."
Even in 2016 it's hard not to see truth in Madonna's claims. Everyone from superstars like Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj to prominent indie artists like Bjork and Grimes have spoken on industry sexism they've experienced in these modern times.
Madonna continued her speech by sharing a personal example from the past, with the late Prince openly flaunting sexuality and got away scot-free while she was blasted.
"I was called a ***** and a witch. One headline compared me to Satan. And I said, 'Wait a minute, isn't Prince running around with fishnets and high heels and lipstick with his butt hanging out?'" she explained. "Yes, he was, but he was a man."
The pop icon also took note of the amount of music legends lost in the past few years, and described herself as lucky.
"Michael [Jackson] is gone, Tupac [Shakur] is gone, Prince is gone, Whitney [Houston] is gone, Amy Winehouse is gone, David Bowie is gone. But I'm still standing," she said. "I'm one of the lucky ones."