Madonna has faced critics head on after Sunday’s Grammy Awards, labelling those who commented on her physical appearance as “ageist and misogynistic”.
The 64-year-old queen of pop took to the stage to present the best pop duo/group award to Sam Smith and Kim Petras for their hit Unholy.
She wore a black tuxedo paired with bleached blonde eyebrows and carried a whip as she praised the “rebels out there”.
Her appearance prompted scrutiny on social media and in the press.
In an Instagram post accompanied by backstage photos, Madonna said: “Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in.
“A world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45 and feels the need to punish her if she continues to be strong willed, hard-working and adventurous.”
She also said close-up photos with a long-lens camera would “distort anyone’s face” and that she’d been “degraded by the media since the beginning of my career”.
Frustrated that people were focusing on her appearance, she tried to draw attention back to the success of German vocalist Kim Petras as the first trans woman to win a Grammy, which she described as a “history making moment”.
Madonna continued: “I have never apologized for any of the creative choices I have made nor the way that I look or dress and I’m not going to start.”
Petras paid tribute to the icon in her acceptance speech, saying “I don’t think I could be here without Madonna”.
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Madonna ended her response to critics by referencing lyrics from Beyonce’s Renaissance album – which won best electronic/dance album on the night.
“In the words of Beyoncé: You won’t break my soul”.
Madonna will begin a world tour this summer including dates in North America and Europe when she will perform her greatest hits.