VIVA magazine … uncensored

I was told by informed sources that the publisher of VIVA magazine pulled the latest issue of the magazine right after it hit the stands because it contained risqué articles (by Jordanian standards) that discussed homosexuality and female sexuality. The magazine was then reissued after these pieces were removed. Well, I have to say I’m not surprised that this happened since so many in Jordan seem to be in denial about both issues. Sadly enough, for many in Jordan the concepts of female sexuality and homosexuality simply do not exist.

What puzzles me, though, is how the publishers figured that in this day and age they could get away with this kind of censoring without being scrutinized. The reason I’m putting these two articles up is to make a point: We cannot continue to live in denial. Someday we are going to have to acknowledge the fact that these issues do exist. And yes, even in Jordan of all places. Other Jordanian bloggers have done the same. Make sure to check out Khalidah and Hala’s blogs. So for those curious or those stuck with the censored edition of the magazine, here’s a chance to read those articles. Click the images (or text) to enlarge the scanned page and make sure your browser shows the image full-size to read. [The images are large.]

8 Comments

  1. Hal May 16, 2006 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for this Natasha. You said it best by saying “We cannot continue to live in denial.” You’re right; we can’t.

    Reply
  2. natasha May 16, 2006 at 7:59 am

    Woops! Ok Khalidah, it is fixed;)

    Reply
  3. Pheras May 16, 2006 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for spreading the word. This is just crazy!

    Reply
  4. Hamzeh N. May 16, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Natasha,
    I was under the assumption that it was some government agency that pulled this issue off the shelves (ie. police going through stores and pulling the magazine off).
    But if it’s the publisher, then it’s the publisher’s choice to publish or not, just as it is the editor’s choice to select this article or that! Isn’t that the whole idea behind freedoms?

    Reply
  5. natasha May 16, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Dear Hamzeh, Yes true, but we really do not know the main reason that prompted the publisher to censor the magazine. Was it a personal choice or did it happen due to external pressure?
    But that’s not the point, the point is that the Jordanian media continue to live in denial about many “taboo” issues that occur in our society. Living in denial and pretending that these issues do not exist is not the solution. Anyway, my two cents 😉

    Reply
  6. Hamzeh N. May 16, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Natasha, have you considered contacting the publishers to learn why they decided to pull it off?
    Regarding your point, I agree these subjects do not get discussed enough in our societies, but then the next question becomes how to discuss them, and there it becomes an issue of personal opinions. The articles in the VIVA magazine were written by non-heterosexuals who were presenting their own accounts of their lives and who were sort of “coming out” to the Jordanian readers of the VIVA magazine, and when a person comes out like that, they’re always gonna try to make the point that “I’m normal, I’m just like you and everyone else”, so we have to agree that these articles have a certain theme in them which promotes the acceptance of these life styles. Now, I congratulate these individuals on having the courage to do that and to come out like that.
    However, and having said that, I think people should keep in mind that there is a difference between defending a person’s right to say something, and saying it with them. You and I have to agree that the editors in VIVA who chose to put these articles weren’t only facilitating a form of expression for these individuals; they were also endorsing what those people had to say, and that’s fine if that’s really what they want. Also, someone can counter my statement by saying that the editors of VIVA can argue that they’re not necessarily endorsing the writers’ views as much as they are simply trying to spark a debate in society and since our society is saturated with the homophobic side of the debate already, they thought it was only fair to give the other side of the debate the chance to speak. That’s ok, although it doesn’t sound very convincing because if you really really wanted to not take sides, you wouldn’t completely ignore one of them, which is what this issue did. It didn’t interview people in Jordan who opposed non-heterosexuality, and didn’t present the views of parents for instance who discovered that their kids are non-heterosexuals and what their reactions were, and why. Even though our society is saturated with homophobia, the actual views and opinions of people haven’t been presented in the media because the debate is simply non existent.
    Now, I don’t know what your personal take on non-heterosexual life styles is, and that ultimately is your own opinion that you’re entitled to, but some of the other bloggers who posted these articles on their sites have on more than one occasion stated that they “don’t necessarily agree with what’s in the articles”. That is basically what really makes me just feel annoyed quite honestly; I mean, if you don’t agree with them, then why are you posting them? If you want to make a big fuss about the fact that some magazine issue was pulled off the shelves and that it doesn’t flow with freedom of expression, then go ahead and make a big deal out of it, but you can do it without having to actually promote what was in the issue itself. You can tell your readers that magazines are still being pulled off the shelves, you can work with activists to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future, but you don’t have to actually go and put them back on the shelf yourself.
    Anyway, that was my take on this subject.

    Reply
  7. jameel August 13, 2008 at 7:34 am

    some things need to be heard, such articles can’t be taken simply when people are trying to open eyes on important issues, the publisher’s did what they did fearing bad feedback, or simply jordan wasn’t ready… but now many thngs had changed, Jordan became more open… with magazines like pulp publishing gay-related articles, the scandel of M.K. magazine with Jordan’s teenage supermodel on the cover being shirtless, gay clubs and hangouts, the major outing to many people, the PDA to homosexuals and the not least the scandel of U magazine where they copy-pasted a photoshoot of UK VOGUE check it out: http://mykali.weebly.com/the-scandel-of-u.html
    and now check out this year’s best gay online magazine called My.Kali.mag which was named after the supermodel Kali aka Khalid:

    Reply

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