Madonna: ‘True solidarity amongst women is a power on its own’

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Madonna was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year, for reasons which still remain a mystery to me. It reminds me a lot of the “???” feeling I had last year, when Lady Gaga was named Billboard’s WOTY. It’s like Billboard is picking names out of a hat. I mean, Adele? Beyonce? Solange? Even Halsey would have been a better choice. It’s not that Madonna isn’t worthy of accolades, especially for stuff like “lifetime achievement.” But her 2016 wasn’t particularly notable, I’m just saying. Still, we got arguably the best Madonna interview in years because of her WOTY honor. And she also gave a damn good acceptance speech:

The Material Girl was honored Friday as Billboard’s Woman of the Year, and naturally, she began her acceptance speech with some provocative humor. “I always feel better with something hard between my legs,” she said while straddling the microphone stand.

“I stand before you as a doormat,” she continued. “Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer. Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant abuse.”

In the frank, sprawling, passionate remarks that followed, Madonna spoke about being raped at knifepoint after first moving to New York as a teenager; about her musical inspirations; about defying critics and being called “a whore and a witch.”

“One headline compared me to Satan,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘Wait a minute, isn’t Prince running around with fishnets and high heels and lipstick with his butt hanging out?’ Yes, he was. This was when I understood women do not have the same freedom as men.”

Toward the end of her speech, the 58-year-old entertainer thanked her detractors and offered advice to women following in her footsteps.

“I’m not here so much because I care about awards,” she said. “I’m here because I want to say thank you. To all the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not or would not or must not, your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you.”

She added, “What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been 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 … As women, we have to start appreciating our own and each other’s worth. Seek out strong women to befriend to align yourself with and to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by and enlightened by. True solidarity amongst women is a power on its own.”

[From People]

I’ve long believed that Madonna’s greatest strength is her greatest weakness. Her strength is grabbing attention, being or playing the provocateur, being the person who refuses to be ignored. The weakness there is that she rarely has anything to say, so the attention, the provocation, the look-at-me-ism is just about Madonna the artifice/person, without any political, cultural or social message. But taken with her WOTY interview, this speech might show a new Madonna. Maybe her latest brand is Madonna the Feminist Warrior. While she’s always talked about what it’s like to be a woman in the music industry, her message has gotten harder, deeper and more interesting lately.

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Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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62 Responses to “Madonna: ‘True solidarity amongst women is a power on its own’”

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  1. paolanqar says:

    I love that suit but I can’t look at her face, It looks so painful.
    I can’t believe this is the same woman I used to be a fan of back in the day.

    • Will Rise says:

      I love the suit as well. What I love more is content of her speech. She’s calling out the flagrant mysogyny in our society. Our soon to be president elect beinga glaring example…She’s WON me back as a fan. Her speech was a fierce cry to arms IMO.

    • Tris says:

      Paolanqar – and how does your face compare to the one you had “back in the day”? Madonna’s face got old, like the rest of us. And it got some help, like the rest of them. But she’s still kicking ass, reinventing herself as she chooses, and I still love her, even more now than “back in the day”.

      • paolanqar says:

        Are you for real? That face does not look old. It looks painfully butchered.
        My face looks pretty much the same and at least I know how to move my mouth when I speak and my ass doesn’t look like it’s been injected with cement.
        She looks and act ridiculous.
        Her trying so hard is really off putting.

    • QQ says:

      Me Neither Is like we caught her Mid Morphing into a Gargoyle ..F*ck Me .. I’m high and this is disrupting my vibe ….

    • Kristen says:

      If you read this post, and your first comment is about her face or outfit, you are part of the problem.

      • paolanqar says:

        Great speech but it seems like she only advocates for women who make her look cool and up to date then when the ‘phase’ is gone she moves on to other ventures/heroes. I always felt like she does things just to shock or go against the rules rather than do things with genuine love for her beliefs.

  2. Jen says:

    Great speech!

  3. Danielle says:

    Has Madonna ever been a champion of other women? I don’t remember hearing about that.

    • Bes says:

      See, that’s my problem with the “new” Madonna. She is saying good things, but she’s only talking female solidarity now that sexism and ageism are hitting her too hard to stand alone. Women should absolutely recognize and fight against institutional sexism, and work together to do so, but this sounds awfully self-serving coming from her.

      • frisbee says:

        Agree with you, it feels like she’s ‘bandwagon’ jumping, which has been something of a career specialty for her.

      • vaultdweller101 says:

        Maybe it’s a sign of how horrible 2016 has been for women, but I don’t even care. It could be self-serving, but if Madonna has to pick a new thing to stay relevant, then the solidarity and empowerment of women is at least a good choice.

      • Kristen says:

        Madonna’s been talking about feminism for a loooooooong time. This isn’t new. Maybe we are just ready to start listening.

      • Bes says:

        Kristen, she has talked feminism when it was something that directly affected her or someone she is associated with, or when she has been asked about it. She is a very narcissistic person, and her behavior in these last few years especially has been tasteless and attention-seeking and undermines the message she touting now. It’s not strange or anti-feminist to call women out on their actions. Madonna has earned the side-eye she is getting right now. If she starts actually behaving in a way that shows a change in her beliefs due to issues of women as a whole and not just her own, that’s awesome, and I will be there applauding her efforts.

      • Agapanthus says:

        The only person madonna cares about is herself, sadly.

    • HappyMom says:

      Exactly. I’ve been a fan of her music since she started in the 80s, but let’s be real.

    • Radley says:

      Maybe she’s evolving? Learning? Growing? It happens and that’s a good thing. She gets the benefit of the doubt from me. Besides, it’s exhausting to question her motives when she does or says something good. It’s not like she has a track record of being consistently anti-woman, right? I don’t follow all the Madonna happenings so maybe I’ve missed some things.

    • MSat says:

      How about signing a young artist named Alanis Morissette to her Maverick label?

      Other women Madonna has signed, supported, or helped by having them open for her on tour, etc include:
      Michelle Branch
      Meshell Ndegeocello

      You can see all of the charities she supports here: https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/madonna

  4. Otaku Fairy says:

    Great speech. She also said something spot-on about the slut-shaming/victim-blaming respectability politics for women: how the message sent is to “Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men.”

  5. robyn says:

    I guess it’s never too late to realize being the only woman in a room full of men isn’t what’s best for the world at large and that women can be trusted to lead. We evolve … and she is known for reinventing herself.

    Incidentally, I think her face is perfectly fine. It’s had work but so what. It’s the Trump face I can’t stand.

    PS She doesn’t do herself any favors by making that first comment about “between her legs”. If a guy said something a kin to that we would find him a little disgusting would we not.

    • eggyweggs says:

      I’ve never been too into Madonna, but if this late career message becomes her legacy, it’ll be a good one.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah I actually agree with all your points.

      She annoys me but we gravely need this message front-and-center right now so I’m fully supportive.

  6. LAK says:

    Madonna has always said this. She’s supported various women who’ve been publicly victimised or subjected to sexism and mysogyny even where those women were unpopular or were being punished for not conforming to societal norm.

    What’s distracted from her core message has been the need for attention grabbing antics. Yet some of those attention grabbing antics made her political point as well. Everything from women not being slut shamed to being in control of] our own destiny. It seems obvious now, but it was not in the 80s or 90s

    It’s a pity that it takes this speech for some people to hear her.

    And that’s why it’s so disappointing that she’s given into the plastic surgery women can’t be publicly old industry. She didn’t seem to be the type or at the very least, her fight against misogyny and sexism and ageism implied she wouldn’t fall in line.

  7. Deanne says:

    Woman of the Year? For what exactly?; The thing is that Madonna is all about Madonna and only Madonna. She wants other women to champion her. I don’t remember her ever doing it for anyone else. Ever.

    • eggyweggs says:

      She did champion Britney Spears for a minute.

      • Lex says:

        Um.. yeah but it was when Britney was at the top of her game and before she had any real struggles. That was Madonna leaching off Britney’s popularity with a younger generation

    • chick b. says:

      This. Any other woman Madonna has publicly reached out to has been to make her seem more interesting or relevant. There are so many feminist heroes and examples to look up to. The woman who laughed at her makeup artist being raped and still fawns over Sean Penn is not one of them.

  8. Ramona says:

    Aaaand here we go. Powerful woman makes meaningful feminist statement; women commenters rush to tear at her, thereby disrupting the message. Rinse. Repeat.

    Trevor Noah was on the Breakfast Show the other day talking about this exact thing. Know your enemy people and focus on it fgs!

    • Slowsnow says:

      Regarding this very subject, a male friend of mine wrote on his FB page “is feminism the new black?”, acknowledging this kind of appropriation by powerful people who have long forgotten their troubles since they have been surrounded by yes men for more that two decades now. I told him that it was disingenuous to obliterate a very important message on account of poor spokespeople.

      So… I’ll forget the toy boys and the awful behavior (plus the inability to age) and say “go Madonna”! Albeit begrudgingly.

    • Bex says:

      All of this. I don’t care when or why she decided to make this her message, it’s a good one, and shooting the messenger for not being perfect or ascribing motivations to her helps nobody (certainly not women) in the long run.

      • Harla Jodet says:

        True Bex, but it does make it harder to “hear” the message when it seems to be all about the messenger.

    • Tulip says:

      @Ramona. I think there is a big issue of double standards here. Men can treat both genders like trash on their way to the top, while women are some how supposed to be “cleaner” while achieving the same goals. And there’s the inequality.

      It’s interesting what she’s suggesting. Can you aggressively achieve success (and all the backstabbing that can go on with that) and still be in solidarity with your own gender?Does that exist even in men? If it does, I applaud her, that’s a goal to strive for. If it doesn’t, she needs to be called on it.

    • anna says:

      right on ramona. this is why madonna threads usually depress me. but slowly it gets better. thanks to posters like you.

  9. TheSageM says:

    What’s with those roots??

    • detritus says:

      What’s with the sequined bowtie?
      No TY.
      I could even deal with the rest of the look, it looks like tattoos in shiny suit form, but the tie is a bridge to far for me.

    • Kali says:

      Oh it’s calculated….
      To prove she has no grey

      • Lady D says:

        I read that somewhere. She gets her roots dyed dark when she gets her hair dyed blonde so no one will think she has grey coming in. I don’t know if it’s true.

      • TheSageM says:

        Well, yes, she obviously colours her roots dark brown, it looks ridiculous, so unflattering.

    • Matomeda says:

      +1 that’s All I can see when I look at her. It is SO OBVIOUS that she’s trying to pretend she has dark roots- not grey. We can all see it’s dyed.

  10. trollontheloose says:

    I want the suit minus the collar cape. Her face is lemon sucked as if there was a thread from an ear to another.

  11. Lalu says:

    She’s tiring. I used to love her. I outgrew her at some point just like I did Gwen Stefani. It’s how I look at Brett Michaels and Tommy Lee etc. I got older and grew up. I feel like so many of these people are stunted.
    I don’t think it is sexism so much with Madonna. It’s more like everything seems so contrived. Girl was offering to give out bj’s for Hillary votes. I am sorry. But that is degrading and beneath her. It’s beneath her and Hillary both, actually. At some point people begin to believe everything’s all about you… And everything is just an act. And you are actually just terrified of losing your youth and relevancy. It’s like she doesn’t even realize what a huge icon she is.

    • Slowsnow says:

      Good point. I keep asking myself why she bothers me so much, apart from the divaesque behavior and I came to the conclusion that we as a society (or at least a part of it) outgrew her message. Which was basically replicating a sort of oversexualised alpha male posture that could be “her thing” or a sort of meta-critique if it didn’t extend to her life and her as a person. She is not considered “bossy” because she has an opinion, she is consistently arrogant (there are tons of examples but a Brazilian very serious female journalist comes to mind, who said she was the only celebrity who was a disappointment as she was such a feminist icon and was simply impolite and obnoxious).

    • HappyMom says:

      I agree.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Which is more ‘degrading’ (?) to women in the long run though, Lalu, a person joking about a consensual sex act in 2016 (that sound you just heard is all my pearls scattering across the floor) or the women who actually went out and voted for the racist, raping, misogynistic ‘grab them by the pussy/don’t even have to ask’ Donald Trump, who looks at his own daughter (and apparently other underage girls) as a hot piece of ass?

  12. JenB says:

    It’s a good message.
    Did she really get horrible butt implants or was it just a rumor?

  13. Lisa says:

    When I think of someone who is welcoming and creates solidarity, Madonna isn’t the first person who comes to mind.

  14. Goobie says:

    The “Problem that is Madonna” is not her age or face.
    It is her lack of any sense of “Elegance” whatsoever.
    Period.

  15. nicegirl says:

    “Madonna” is actually a human woman. And she is right, solidarity is what we women need now to fight what is coming at us straight on –

    Never will we find a perfect messenger. We do not need perfection. We need unification to enact real change.

  16. Harla Jodet says:

    I really liked her message but it’s hard to take it too seriously because while she rails against sexism and ageism she then turns around and buys into both by using her body to get attention and using fillers, surgery or whatever to try and look younger. If she would drop the “act” for a few minutes I think the message would come across much stronger.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      A person of either sex choosing to do something with their bodies isn’t sexism. The sexism is when women are forced, blackmailed, scapegoated, harassed, bullied, threatened, prevented from, shamed for, or discriminated against for doing or not doing something with their bodies that men have the option of doing or not do without getting the exact same treatment. And when people can’t take the message of a member of an oppressed group talking about oppression and discrimination seriously because of something like immodesty, plastic surgery, dyed or straightened hair, a hijab, or make-up, but wouldn’t apply that same standard to someone who wasn’t a member of their group talking about things like sexism or racism and equality, that’s the hearer buying into some sexism or racism and having the wrong priorities, not the messenger.

  17. Jaded says:

    Two words come to mind about her – hypocritical dichotomy.

  18. Fiorella says:

    I find her caring and curious. Nobody is perfect. Her recent car karaoke is worth watching if you haven’t. She shares a bit of old gossip

  19. Libra girl says:

    Pack it up Madge. And loose those dark roots. Good Lord.

  20. TOPgirl says:

    I’m still waiting for Madonna to retire into a cave somewhere. Each time one of her songs from the 80′s come on the radio, I imagine the old Madonna. I can’t believe they are the same person. Sad.

  21. Scooch says:

    This woman is no feminist. Everything she’s ever done has been for her own shameless self promotion. She lost any feminist cred when she signed The Prodigy to her Maverick label with the song Smack My B— Up. She’s just a female chauvanist pig.

  22. Chloe says:

    Looks like cat woman no 2