This 1990 Madonna Interview About Censorship is Still Incredibly Relevant Today

Around this time 25 years ago, Madonna’s racy “Justify My Love” music video was banned from MTV for being too sexually explicit. The network’s conservative decision was a response to the clip’s subject matter—a slyly pornographic narrative paired with Madonna’s erotic whispery vocals, delivering that irresistible chorus, “Wanting, needing, waiting, for you to justify my love.”

In the heat of this controversy, Madonna appeared on ABC News Nightline to discuss why she felt the decision was wrong, bringing to light a number of important issues that are still problematic in contemporary culture. First, the interviewer addresses the nudity that pervades Madonna’s music video, to which the singer rebuttals by explaining the value of honest artistic expression. “I’m just dealing with the truth here,” she says, reiterating the reality that sexuality is an important part of human nature.

MTVqualms with a woman’s nipple in 1990 echoes Instagram’s censorship policy today, which greatly hinders the possibilities of creative freedom by actively oppressing the female form. Before the Internet became as widely used as it is today, television was the greatest enemy in terms of censorship—a medium that favored violence over the human form. Some 25 years later, this is still the cultural norm, and one that Madonna’s work has always thankfully challenged.

When asked if MTV should have a designated time for “adult content,” the singer delivered a brilliantly spot-on rant that still feels socially relevant today. “I think MTV should have their violence hour and I think they should have their degradation to women hour,” she said, sarcastically. “If we’re going to have censorship, let’s not be hypocrites about it. Let’s not have double standards. We already have these videos that display degradation to women and violence that are played 24 hours a day, but yet they don’t want a video playing that deals with sex between two consenting adults.”

Mic drop.


iPad Means Fewer Full-Frontals In Fashion Mags

The iPad has fashion magazines shaking in their designer booties. And now not just because the ever-expanding digital terrain might bring about the death of print. It might mark a return to puritanical photo spreads as well. American magazines have long been significantly more prude when it comes to featuring fully nude bodies, thus stateside publications have little to worry about. But, for European fashion magazines, from the likes of Dazed & Confused and French Vogue to Purple Fashion, which doesn’t put out a single issue without a fully-frontal nude spread, there’s much cause for concern. “Magazines planning to launch iPad editions for the Apple’s glossy e-Reader device will have to censor themselves to make into Apple’s No Porn app store,” says Shiny Shiny.

“A [Dazed & Confused] insider revealed that the mag’s iPad edition has been nicknamed the Iran edition by the people putting it together, giving the parallels between censorship in the Muslim theocracy and the iTunes store.” And they’re not likely to be the only ones with a proverbial bone to pick with Steve Jobs should magazines have to restrict their showcasing of nudity. “It’s even more ironic because the iPad has been billed as the saviour of the magazine industry and also given Apple’s reputation as a maintstay of the creative industries,” Shiny Shiny continues. So, while the iPad might allow fashion photographers, stylists and designers to showcase their work in an entirely new, high-resolution light, if their creativity for how to present those images is censored, the novelty of these new tablets, at least for the fashion community, has the potential to wear off fast.