But culturally, Madonna’s platform is, “This is what a strong woman is, and I claim my space.”
But I never said what a strong woman isn’t. People have that notion of me as invincible, and that doesn’t mean I’m not also vulnerable. I never said I was just one thing.
On the album, you use the word “bitch” a lot (“Bitch I’m Madonna,” “Unapologetic Bitch”), which some bloggers have suggested should be banned.
I think that’s bullshit. The word police can f— off. I don’t want to be policed! I’m not interested in political correctness. The word “bitch” means a lot of different things. Everything is about context. When I first moved to England and heard the word “c–t,” I was horrified. People were calling each other c–ts! And then I realized that, in that culture, it was different — they slapped each other on the back and said, “Who’s the c–t, right, you’re my best mate!” The word “f—” doesn’t just mean sexual intercourse. I mean, “You’re a stupid f—,” “Are you going to f— with me?” “F– off!” (Laughs.) Sex has nothing to do with any of those expressions, and the same goes for “bitch.” If I say to you, “I’m a badass bitch,” I’m owning myself, I’m saying, “I’m strong, I’m tough, and don’t mess with me.” If I say, “Why are you being such a bitch to me?,” well, that means something else.
But isn’t attention to language an important part of the new online discourse about race, gender and power?
OK, but that’s another story. Language, and the use of language, is different than one human physically abusing somebody or bullying somebody, or killing somebody because of the color of their skin or their sexual preference or their religious beliefs. I don’t think the two should get mixed up.
Why did you decide to write so much about sex and religion?
When have I not explored the politics of sex and religion? I’m just continuing with my studies.
What’s your relationship with Catholicism at this point?
Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It’s the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it because I suffered all the oppression, and all the abuse — and also enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance, the drama and the confusion and the hypocrisy and the craziness. I feel like I can say whatever I want and do whatever I want. I’ve been ex-communicated by the Catholic Church a few times. But I also feel like this new pope is kind of groovy, and I think we might be able to get together and have a chat about sex.
Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Yes, I have. It’s pulp fiction. It’s not very sexy, maybe for someone who has never had sex before. I kept waiting for something exciting and crazy to happen in that red room thing, and I was like, “Hmm, a lot of spanking.” I also thought, “This is so unrealistic because no guy goes down on a girl that much.” I’m sorry, but no one eats p—- as much as the guy in that book.
Do you think your views on sex have changed during the last, say, 25 years?
Absolutely not. Nope. Sex is a wonderful, necessary part of life.
Many of the songs on this album are so romantic. Do you see yourself getting married again?
Wait, what does romance have to do with getting married?
Don’t they go hand in hand? That’s what everybody says in America.
No, no. Stupid question! You can have a drink. (Pours shot.) First of all, everybody says it in America. What? Who are you talking about? Down it!
Are you serious?
Yup, it’s just like water. Water for chocolate. Holy water! Bless yourself, and genuflect.