I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer.
Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.
I was of course inspired by Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin, but my real muse was David Bowie.
He embodied male and female spirit and that suited me just fine. He made me think there were no rules. But I was wrong. There are no rules – if you’re a boy. 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 criticised and vilified and definitely not played on the radio.
I’m not here so much because I care about awards. I’m here because I want to say thank you. To all the doubters and naysayers and everyone who gave me hell and said I could not or would not or must not, your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am. It made me the woman that I am today. So thank you.
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 be enlightened by.