At the last Billboard Women in Music award ceremony, Madonna spoke her most honest truth. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you do.
At this event, she speaks about what it means to be a woman in the music industry, and most importantly, she talks about the difference between what society accepts or doesn't accept when you're a woman rather than a man.
"There are rules if you're a girl. 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 mentions the time when her Erotica album and Sex book were released. "Everything I read about myself was damning," she says. "I was called a whore and a witch. One headline compared me to Satan. This was the first time I truly understood women do not have the same freedom as men."
She also offers this advice to other women in the industry: "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.
I think this applies to women in any industry, in any walk of life. Women have often been each other's worst enemies, both to themselves and to each other. It's time we supported one another instead.
This speech must have been very difficult for her to give. She teared up twice and at one point had to stop herself from breaking down with the simple word "no."
"It's not so much about receiving this award as it is having this opportunity to stand before you and say thank you. Not only to the people who have loved and supported me along the way, you have no idea... you have no idea how much your support means," she said, tearing up. "But to the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not, that I would not or I must not -- your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you."
When have you done something that went against what society or your friends or family believed, what others resisted? Or, is there something you're facing in the year to come that you know might make enemies or form resistance?
If so, remember the words spoken by this strong woman: "Your resistance made me stronger."