"I know a lot of people would go, 'Oh, that's ridiculous for you to say that. You're a successful white, wealthy pop star,' but I've had the s**t kicked out of me for my entire career," she says. "And a large part of that is because I'm female."
Madonna adds that her lifestyle choices have also made her susceptible to criticism. "I've created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me," she explains. "This makes people very uncomfortable."
As she nears 60, Madonna says she's considering a career change. "I'm liking the idea more and more of just standing up with a microphone and talking," the "Material Girl" singer shares. "I keep telling [my former opener] Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock that I'm going to do stand-up and they'd better watch out. I'm coming. I'm coming right behind them."
Madonna also wrote and plans to direct Loved, a big-screen adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer's 2013 novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. "'I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable," she notes. "Why does this book appeal to me? Why did I want to adapt it into a screenplay? Because it touches me on so many levels and it deals with so many important topics. Right now, more than ever, it's an extremely timely story to tell."
In December, Madonna spoke her mind upon accepting Billboard's Woman of the Year Award. "What I would like to say to all of the women here today is this: women have been so suppressed for so long, they believe what men have to say about them and they believe they have to back their man to get the job done," she said. "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 be inspired by, to collaborate with, to support, to be enlightened by."