Are you a child of the 80s? Yes? Ok, raise your hand if you wanted to be just like Madonna growing up?
*Look at that, all hands are raised.*
Madonna was the trailblazer of our generation. She wore lingerie as outerwear for heaven’s sakes, gave us the soundtracks of our lives and pushed the envelope when it came to taboo themes like sexuality, homophobia and even a woman’s right to choose.
Love or hate Madonna, you’ll agree that we take notice of every narrative she tells because her words remain a lightning rod for the conversations that make us think differently about our biases and ourselves.
I went to New York. I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star. I didn’t know anybody. I wanted to dance. I wanted to sing. I wanted to do all those things. I wanted to make people happy. I wanted to be famous. I wanted everybody to love me. I wanted to be a star. I worked really hard and my dream came true.
I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.
When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it.
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.”
I’ve been popular and unpopular successful and unsuccessful loved and loathed and I know how meaningless it all is. Therefore I feel free to take whatever risks I want.
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.
The last thing I want is to raise a brat. We could definitely go down the wrong road. I don’t want Lola to have everything she wants. I want her to appreciate things, and not to be presumptuous. I want her to have manners and social graces.
What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been so 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. And there are some very good men worth backing, but not because they’re men—because they’re worthy.
I think you can be defiant and rebellious and still be strong and positive.
Fame is a by-product. Fame is something that should happen because you do work that speaks to people and people want to know about your work. Unfortunately, the personality of people has taken over from the work and the artistry and it’s this thing now that stands on its own. I don’t think one should ever aspire to be famous. ~Madonna
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