Subscribe to Mic Daily
We’ll send you a rundown of the top five stories every day

An assembly of powerful women, including Anita Hill, Shonda Rhimes and Mia Farrow, gathered inside the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, California, to celebrate Elle magazine’s annual Women in Hollywood event Monday night.

Lady Gaga, cocooned in an oversized Marc Jacobs SS19 suit via stylists Sandra Amador and Tom Eerebout, was honored at the event. Her hair was in a slicked back low-hanging bun courtesy of Frederic Aspiras, and her makeup via Sarah Nicole Tanno.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Gaga, who graces the cover of Elle’s November women in Hollywood-themed issue, accepted the evening’s award from Jennifer Lopez, who told the crowd, “When they tell us to stay in our lane, we make a new one,” which could be describing Gaga, J. Lo herself or any of the women present in the room.

When Gaga hit the stage, tears filled her eyes. In her speech, she explained why she had forgone the gowns we’d come to expect in the Gaga-goes-to-Hollywood era and the power of fashion as language. As she stated, it had nothing to do with comfort, and everything to do with power.

“I tried on dress after dress today getting ready for this event, one tight corset after another, one heel after another, a diamond, a feather, thousands of beaded fabrics and the most beautiful silks in the world,” she told the crowd. “To be honest, I felt sick to my stomach. And I asked myself: What does it really mean to be a woman in Hollywood? We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people’s faces. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public. We women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have deep thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values about the world, and we have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced.”

Sarah Paulson, Keira Knightley, Anita Hill, Mia Farrow, Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett, Shonda Rhimes, Charlize Theron and Yara Shahidi
Sarah Paulson, Keira Knightley, Anita Hill, Mia Farrow, Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett, Shonda Rhimes, Charlize Theron and Yara Shahidi Michael Kovac/Getty Images

She continued:

“So, after trying 10 or so dresses, with a sad feeling in my heart, that all that would matter was what I wore to this red carpet, I saw an oversized Marc Jacobs suit buried quietly in the corner. I put it on to a resounding view of eyes glaring at me in confusion. ‘But the Rodarte was so beautiful!’ one said. ‘But the Raf Simons for Calvin Klein was so stunning on you!’ said another. ‘But what about the Brandon Maxwell? What about the Dior?’ Lots of questions. They were all dresses. This was an oversized men’s suit made for a woman. Not a gown.

And then I began to cry. In this suit, I felt like me today. In this suit, I felt the truth of who I am well up in my gut. And then wondering what I wanted to say tonight become very clear to me. As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants.”

You can view the speech in its entirety here:

You can read the full text here.