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The Madonna speaks .

Singer says comments about her appearance at the Grammy awards are signs of ‘a world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45’

Madonna has issued a vehement response against those who critiqued her appearance at the Grammys, calling the attacks “ageism and misogyny”.

On Sunday night, the entertainment legend introduced a performance by non-binary musician Sam Smith and transgender singer Kim Petras at the awards show. The pair had earlier won a Grammy award for best pop duo or group performance, for their song Unholy.

Soon after, images of Madonna at the ceremony began to circulate on social media, with people flocking to her social media accounts to mock her appearance or speculate about cosmetic surgery. UK chat show host Piers Morgan was accused of bullying when he shared a closeup photo of Madonna on the night on his social media, with the caption: “I thought Halloween was in October?”

In a statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday, the singer, who has won seven Grammys over her four-decade career, lamented that chatter about her appearance had overshadowed an otherwise groundbreaking moment at the awards show.

“It was an honor for me to introduce Kim Petras and Sam Smith at the Grammys,” she wrote, alongside a video montage of her posing with Smith, as well as other peers and celebrities including Cardi B and DJ Honey Dijon.

“I wanted to give the last award which was album of the year, but I thought it was more important that I present the first trans woman performing at the Grammys – a history making moment!! And on top of that she won a Grammy!!”

But instead of her speech, “which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim”, Madonna wrote, “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!!”

The 64-year-old singer denounced the entertainment industry for its biases against women who have continued to work long into their careers.

“Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in,” she said. “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 said she has “never apologised for any of the creative choices I have made nor the way that I look or dress and I’m not going to start.

“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.”

She quoted Beyoncé, who broke the record for most Grammy wins of all time with her gongs from this year’s ceremony, writing: “You won’t break my soul.”

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