Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Gets Censored for the Middle East

Like her or hate her, there’s basically no escaping her especially if you tune in for 10 minutes of local radio. Lady Gaga is gearing up to release her upcoming album which she has titled: ARTPOP. A few weeks ago, she revealed the album’s title to be the following:

ARTPOP

Pretty weird, right? It’s not like you’d expect anything less from her at this point though. However, Middle Eastern countries are getting a different and censored version of this same cover, which was just released and is the following:

BYP0Iz0CQAAE123.jpg-large

They’ve increased the dimension of that ball in front of her, whatever it might mean, to cover her breasts. They’ve also colored her legs black in order to give the impression that she’s covered up.

And yes, Lebanon is one of those countries as is evident by the Lebanese iTunes Store.

I really don’t get this. Did local authorities tell her label they would refuse to sell the album under its previous cover? Or did the label do this out of courtesy? If so, did they really think people wouldn’t simply switch the censored and covered-up cover for the other one in case the decided to purchase the album?

I may not like Lady Gaga and her music but I absolutely hate censorship especially when it’s this absurd and non-sensical. What’s next? Cover her up with a burqa and retitle the album to something regionally-appropriate in order not to irk some people? After all, who knows how they’ll take the “art” in Artpop?

Last time I checked, regardless of whether I agree or not with her methods, she was someone championing for personal liberties and whatnot. Our countries have squashed that right out of the bat – and the album is yet to be released. Perhaps they’ll then censor the track listing as well which contains songs called Sex Dreams and Swine because, as you know, sex and swine are both haram.

I guess the bright side is that this wasn’t banned, not that it would make any difference given that’s available online aplenty.

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19 thoughts on “Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Gets Censored for the Middle East

  1. I don’t see what’s so absurd or non-sensical about this censorship..Every culture has its preferences and sensitivities, I don’t know why liberals find this so difficult to understand. The general discomfort that would be caused by the original cover would be far greater than the potential nuisance that is caused by this censorship. I don’t know why, in the name of freedom (western liberalism to be more accurate), we should gulp up everything that reaches us from the west and readily disregard and dump our own cultural standards and preferences.

    For example, as an Arab girl living in the middle east, I would find it totally embarrassing and uncomfortable to walk past a girl grabbing her boobs with her legs spread apart while with my parents, little siblings or even male friends. I don’t know why, in my own home country, I would have to tolerate this just so that I don’t violate Lady Gaga’s personal freedom. Why do I have to feel like a foreigner in my own country? And undoubtedly the huge majority of arab girls and people share this sentiment.
    I’m sure the slightly modified version of that picture is much more tolerable by our liberals than the scenario I just mentioned.

    The burqa past is a very unfair exaggeration, we see half-naked “artists” on our televisions all the time and our films ‘7addes wala 7araj’…. And if I were to protest using the same logic, I can say “If we allow this in the name of freedom, what would prevent next the display of an eroticised nude woman (if Lady Gaga or some american artist choose it as a theme)??

    In short, you can see this the other way around. We don’t have to have foreign standards shoved right at our faces just to not irk some people.
    And the feminist argument against that picture is another story as well…

    Reply
    • The problem is that the original cover would only be seen in music shops if you decided to seek out the Gaga album. You won’t have to face it on streets and you won’t need to be exposed to it enough for it to cause a cultural shock or to believe that it’s those liberals who want to shove it down your throat.

      By the same token of your argument, one would assume it’s also acceptable for this album, for instance, to be banned entirely because it doesn’t really conform with Middle Eastern culture when it comes to content. I don’t like the cover. I find it distasteful in both its versions. But what I like even less is for such a thing to happen to something as irrelevant as an album cover.

      The burqa and haram parts were obviously being a sarcastic hyperbole of the situation.

      Reply
  2. Sex is not haram. Premarital sex is, in both religions I believe. Anyway, the “burqa” and the “haram” arguments both suggest that the censorship is done mainly because only Muslims are offended apparently. Which is not the case, but let’s not “nballich fadayi7.” It’s a disgusting cover anyway, and kinda misogynistic and exploitative.

    Reply
    • I am aware of what is permitted and what is not in all religions. The parts you are referring to were meant sarcastically and are more reflective of social issues than actually religious as I’m sure Islam has bigger issues to care about that Lady Gaga’s boobs.

      I don’t get what “fadaye7” you are referring to but I don’t mean to start any major scandal here apart from some healthy discussion. Either way, I think when it comes to possible religious-based censorship, I am fair in my approach to either this case or others as I’ve blogged previously about the issue.

      Either way, her album contents are all about debauchery and sex and whatnot so why censor cover when the content is much more explicit? One of the lyrics is “when I think of you I touch myself.”

      Yes, I think the cover is horrible but I think covering her up is more misogynistic than the cover itself, no?

      Reply
      • I didn’t say I support censoring the cover, censorship is ridiculous. And this particular one is stupid. It works for the Gulf area, but Lebanon? Anyway, was just pointing out that the use of arguments wasn’t that evocative. Never mind.

        Reply
  3. Endless amount of silliness in stupid censorship. Is it so embarrassing to walk past a girl grabbing her boobs in the Arab world? It’s just boobs… How about rape and arranged marriages and women traffic and domestic violence? Maybe we should have some shock priorities. And anyway this isn’t even Lady Gaga but a sculpture of hers made by Jeff Koons. I can’t stand her music but the censorship is pointless, especially as her songs are charged with sexual and socially sensitive messages anyway. No need to have foreign standard shoved down our throats, when it comes to licentiousness mixed with hypocrisy we’re at the top of every ranking.

    Reply
  4. we will get the uncensored version at virgin. iTunes lebanon is just a mirror of iTunes in the UAE where the artwork was edited. It also happened with Rihanna’s album which was edited on iTunes but completely uncensored in Lebanon as a physical release

    Reply
      • yes true! iTunes in the Middle East is UAE based and changes are mirrored through out the region. even songs are all edited you can’t even find explicit versions of songs. The issue has happened before and we always got the original covers. I mean just look at our magazines covers (Vogue, Cosmopolitan…) they all show a lot more skin than this cover.

        Reply
  5. I have recently purchased a Lady Gaga CD from Virgin to my friend called: The Remix and she is completely naked on the cover. Just google it. Can’t believe this will be banned! Lots of more controversial covers in stores

    Reply
  6. very interesting. i was wondering how this cover would be altered in these areas.
    (i remember seeing a picture of a censored katy perry album cover. that made me aware they would cheaply photoshop if they thought too much skin was showing)

    needless to say it is a poor effort, it looks ridiculous. aaaand consorship totally sucks.

    Reply
  7. Reblogged this on A Life Within and commented:
    I believe adults, in all regions, must have the right to choose the content and products they want to consume. It is their choice and their responsibility to accept or dismiss an idea or artifact they are exposed to, not the government’s.

    Reply
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