We Can't Believe These Music Videos Were Once Banned

Remember when Britney Spears' "Toxic" got axed from daytime rotation?

Let me take you back to the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's boob on live television and, as a result, MTV banned any music video remotely titillating to post-10 p.m. Siberia—including Britney Spears' futuristic magnum opus "Toxic." Yes, she dons a glittery body suit (with jewels just in the right places, if you catch our drift) and makes out with an assortment of male suitors, but the clip is far from only-with-the-curtains closed fare. Its restricted viewing was a tad ridiculous, in my humble opinion.

But it's not the only tame-ish clip that received limited viewing (or full-on banning) when it first came out. These seven pop videos are provocative, but nothing we don't see on daytime television these days. Why were we such prudes back in the day?!

Madonna, "Like a Prayer"

The ban: Full-on ban, according to Billboard.

The BS: For 1989, this video was risky. Madonna dances in front of burning crosses, kisses an African American saint figure's feet and wears a crucifix and slip dress simultaneously. The video challenged the status quo and puritanical ideals of late '80s America and is now regarded as one of the most groundbreaking clips in history. But in 2015, these antics are pretty run-of-the-mill. Just take a look at Lady Gaga's "Judas," which is arguably just as (if not more) boundary-pushing.

Britney Spears, "Toxic"

The ban: Moved to 10 p.m.-6 a.m. rotation in light of the Super Bowl scandal.

The BS: BritBrit uses her sexual prowess and jewel-clad birthday suit to get revenge on an ex-lover. However, the content is more PG-13 than NC-17. Ms. Spears' naked body in the clip is nothing you wouldn't see on the streets of Times Square.

Michael Jackson, "Black or White"

The ban: Last four minutes cut from airing, per Michael's request.

The BS: MJ felt the last four minutes of this video's original cut, where he smashes windows and dances suggestively grabbing his crotch, were too much for MTV. He pulled the portion of the video and re-edited accordingly. However, we still don't understand what all the fuss was about.

Cher, "If I Could Turn Back Time"

The ban: Completely banned by MTV, then moved to post-9 p.m. rotation.

The BS: The world collectively freaked out over Cher's "exposed" backside in this video, but it's not like she is completely nude. Fabric covers up the, erm, touchy derrière areas, so people really need to chill.

Madonna (again), "What It Feels Like for a Girl"

The ban: Banned to early-hour rotation by MTV in light of the video's "graphic violence."

The BS: Sure, this video is violent, but not Quentin Tarantino-level outrageous. We think more people were upset with a woman using aggression to get what she wants. And that is the real fuckery at play here.

Lady Gaga, "Alejandro"

The ban: Banned, then allowed post-10 p.m. rotation.

The BS: Boys in heels! Homoeroticism! Dry-humping with underwear on! Isn't this all shenanigans Madonna covered in the late '80s and early '90s? If so, why was it treated as BRAND NEW INFORMATION for the 2010 MTV set? The video is definitely racy and plays close to the sexual edge, but it is fairly limp compared to the X-rated schtick Madge and others pushed years before. C'mon! It's art!

Maroon 5, "This Love"

The ban: Moved to 10 p.m.-6 a.m. rotation in light of the Super Bowl scandal.

The BS: Side-boob and rolling around in the sack: That's all the craziness needed to give this video the veil of oppression. We bet $100 you've seen more on public transit than this clip.