updated 11/12/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/12/2013 AT 12:25 PM ET
Lady Gaga was both grateful to Glamour and critical of the magazine while being honored Monday night at its Women of the Year awards in New York.
Her complaint? That the photo of her on Glamour’s December cover is simply “too beautiful.”
In fact, the pop star, 27, said she shouldn’t have been the cover in the first place.
“Who really belongs on the cover is not me. If I could forfeit my Glamour cover, I would give it to Malala,” she said, referring to Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani education activist who was shot by the Taliban last year – and who was also among Glamour’s honorees Monday.
“You’re so inspiring, so young and so brilliant,” Gaga told Yousafzai.
She went on to say that idealistic images of beauty don’t empower women – quite the opposite. “I believe my true mission is to inspire young people to fight back against forces that make them feel like they’re not beautiful or important,” she said. “I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning.”
To the audience, which included fellow honorees Barbra Streisand and Gabrielle Giffords, Gaga added: “When I look out into the audience every night, I feel a strong opposition to the corporations that are around me. I know they see the faces of my fans and they see dollar signs. This is not what I see at all. I see friendship and love.”