The chart-topper has had a widely awarded career of No. 1 hits, but along the way, she's faced the same adversity that other women in the music industry have dealt with for decades.
She's speaking out about some uncomfortable situations that she's experienced in Variety's Power of Women issue, on newsstands now.
"As a woman, yeah, I've been in situations where I'm looking at stuff now going, 'Oh my god, this happened to me, that happened to me. I totally relate to this woman's experience,'" she reveals. "I just went along with it. I didn't necessarily go along with it in a complete way, but I was like, 'Oh, this person just tried to have a moment with me, without being too specific, in the studio, in the dark, and then I laughed my way out of it,' but I think that's just my mechanism that I turn on. So these things have happened to me, yeah."
Carey also praises those trailblazing women who have come forward with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements to help empower women to speak out.
"I really respect the women that have come forward and paved the way so that the newer generation of women don't have to do deal with this and know they don't have to deal with this," the mother of two says.
The pop diva has also learned not to change her behavior to cater to others.
"You have to learn, whether it's being an artist, whether it's being a woman, I am allowed to have my feelings and express them," she says. "Oftentimes we're taught not to be very expressive about our feelings as women because it's a turnoff, and you know what, I don't really care. I'm sick of trying to have to be perfect for people because you can never live up to their expectations ever."
She adds that to have a "long-lasting career" in her industry, "You kind of have to play the game, and it's sad, it's sad that we're still playing games at this point."
One thing Carey is working on is getting over her instinct to maintain a "nice girl" image.
"I'm always so worried about being a nice person that sometimes I go too far in the other direction and don't allow myself to actually be fully empowered because I'm not being nice," she explains. "But I think as women we need to really be in touch with the fact that it's OK for us not to always be the nicest person in the room."
Carey also mentions the late Whitney Houston and their Oscar-winning duet from The Prince of Egypt soundtrack. Describing the experience as "the best," Carey adds, "I think camaraderie with women you respect is a huge deal."