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Madonna Delivers a Powerful Speech Blasting Sexism in the Music Industry: ‘To Age Is a Sin’

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Madonna delivered a blunt, powerful speech while accepting the Billboard Woman of the Year 2016 award on Friday.

“I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer,” she said in the speech for Billboard’s Women in Music event, which will air on Lifetime on Dec. 12. “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.”

The singer said she learned that as a woman in the music industry, she had to play by a certain set of rules.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Watch her speech above.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com