Madonna responded to critics who mocked her appearance while she was presenting a performance at the 2023 Grammy Awards.
The pop icon introduced Sam Smith and Kim Petras, who performed their hit "Unholy," making Petras the first transgender woman to take the stage at the ceremony. But some fans honed in on Madonna's face on social media, writing they were "so confused" by her appearance.
Madonna, 64, wrote in the caption of a lengthy Instagram post that the criticism of her appearance was rooted in "the ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in."
She explained she initially wanted to present the album of the year award, but decided it was "more important" to introduce Petras' performance, which she described as "a history making moment." "And on top of that she won a Grammy!!" Madonna added.
"Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim- Many people chose to only talk about Close-up photos of me Taken with a long lens camera By a press photographer that Would distort anyone’s face!!" she said.
"Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny That permeates the world we live in," she continued. "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."
The singer went on to say she has "never apologized" for her creative choices, nor the way she looked or dressed throughout her career, and that she's "not going to start" doing so now.
"I have been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career but I understand that this is all a test and I am happy to do the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come," Madonna said.
She even referenced a Beyoncé lyric, who won three awards for her album "Renaissance" at the Feb. 5 ceremony, writing, "You won't break my soul."
"I look forward to many more years of subversive behavior -pushing boundaries-Standing up to the patriarchy -and Most of all enjoying my life," Madonna said, before quoting Beyoncé once again. "Bow down b------!"
In Madonna's introduction for Smith and Petras' performance, she thanked the "rebels" and "troublemakers" for forging a new path, saying their "fearlessness does not go unnoticed."
"Here’s what I’ve learned after four decades in music: If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative or dangerous, you are definitely onto something," Madonna said.
Smith and Petras won the award for best pop duo/group performance, making Petras the first openly transgender woman to win a Grammy.
"I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight," Petras said in her speech, before thanking Madonna and her mother.