Madonna, the New York Times notes, is the highest-grossing female touring act ever—having just wrapped up one that pulled in $170 million—and boasts an accolade-filled career that has comfortably spanned four decades. Do not take that to mean those feats were easy, she told the Billboard Women in Music 2016 event Friday as she accepted a Woman of the Year award with what the Times calls a "lacerating speech." "To age," says the Material Girl, "is a sin." Addressing the likes of Beyonce and Adele, the 58-year-old continued: "You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio." Further, "people say that I’m so controversial," she said. "But I think the most controversial thing that I’ve done is to stick around."
The presidential election was weighing on Madge's mind, notes the Times, as she said in an interview beforehand: "Hillary Clinton lost the election, and it’s really important to make a stand and speak my mind about the importance of women and women empowering themselves." She pulled no punches later in her speech, speaking frankly of her own rape and telling the audience that in "the game," "you are allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy, but don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness and do not—do not, I repeat—share your own sexual fantasies with the world."