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Happy Birthday to Madonna!  Champion of Freedom of Expression!

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"I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams." - Madonna

 

Madonna, born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16th, 1958, has spent her life using her voice to make a difference. Most people know Madonna as a famous pop star, but she has also spent a lot of time working for women's rights, freedom of speech, and other advocacy causes. Not only has she used her voice to sing, but she's also used it to speak out against injustice.

 

Throughout her career, Madonna has focused her advocacy efforts on women's rights and gay rights. She is grateful that the political climate towards homosexuality is changing, but she's also regretful that women's rights aren't advancing in the same way.

 

Instead of letting the injustices happen, she started to speak out against them, using her position as a celebrity to book multiple interviews, articles, and photo shoots where she advocated for women's rights. Her feminist views have been featured in US Magazine, The Guardian, the Huffington Post, and several other national news sources.

 

Most recently, Madonna was a keynote speaker at the Women's March in the spring of 2017, when she spoke a powerful message of feminine empowerment. Her speech went viral and inspired women all over the world to speak out in their own countries, cities, and neighborhoods. 

 

Madonna is known as the "Queen of Pop." "Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed her as the second highest-certified female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million album units. Madonna is the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, earning U.S. $1.31 billion from her concert tickets since 1990. She was ranked at number one on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music and number two (behind only the Beatles) on Billboard's list of Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time. Madonna has been inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." (Wikipedia)

 

"Madonna's use of sexual imagery has benefited her career and catalyzed public discourse on sexuality and feminism.[359] As Roger Chapman documents in Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices, Volume 1 (2010), she has drawn frequent condemnation from religious organizations, social conservatives and parental watchdog groups for her use of explicit, sexual imagery and lyrics, religious symbolism, and otherwise "irreverent" behavior in her live performances.[360] The Times wrote that she had "started a revolution amongst women in music ... Her attitudes and opinions on sex, nudity, style and sexuality forced the public to sit up and take notice."[361] Professor John Fiske noted that the sense of empowerment that Madonna offers is inextricably connected with the pleasure of exerting some control over the meanings of self, of sexuality, and of one's social relations.[362] In Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture (2009), the authors noted that Madonna, as a female celebrity, performer, and pop icon, is able to unsettle standing feminist reflections and debates.[363] According to lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys, Madonna represents woman's occupancy of what Monique Wittig calls the category of sex, as powerful, and appears to gleefully embrace the performance of the sexual corv√©e allotted to women.[364] Professor Sut Jhally has referred to Madonna as "an almost sacred feminist icon." (Wikipedia)

 

If you think Madonna's story is inspiring, you may want to start down a similar path. One of the best ways to start towards a career of advocacy is by joining your school's debate team. Debate team won't teach you how to sing like Madonna, but it will teach you how to speak out for the causes that you're passionate about--Madonna's other voice. 

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