Madonna has never been one to sit idly by while critics tsk-tsk her. So when Billboard spoke with the pop icon for an upcoming Q&A (in the issue out Friday, Feb. 13), Madge had a blunt response for those who think the word bitch — which she uses in not one but two Rebel Heart song titles — should be banned.

“I think that’s bullshit. The word police can f— off,” the singer — who performed “Living for Love” at the Grammys on Feb. 8 — tells Billboard. “I don’t want to be policed! I’m not interested in political correctness.”

In Madonna’s eyes, the use of the word is all about context. “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.”

When pressed on the issue and asked about the way language can reflect power dynamics and oppression, Madonna says conflating language with action is misleading.

“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,” Madonna says. “I don’t think the two should get mixed up.”

Read the full Madonna Q&A on Friday, Feb. 13.

Billboard