I love Lady Gaga, and she is one of my heroes, because:
- I love her personality.
- She represents progressivity in a mainstream context, a scarce miracle in our day and age of fakeness, enforced ignorance, fostered insecurity, celebrated greed, squandered talent and potential, rewarded selfishness, and unrewarded niceness.
- Her songs are amazing and catchy. She is a brilliant songwriter with a fantastic voice, and an original performer. I might not be able to take in all her costume changes and videos at the same pace as the next fan, but I have a whole lifetime to. Whether or not she "goes out of fashion" as all the haters anticipate and hope for, she will always be in fashion enough for me, because I never care whether the art I enjoy is cool in the eyes of others or not.
- She is an inspiration to marginalized and insecure youth everywhere. I don't want Superman as a hero, I want a fellow human being who I can relate to.
- She's nice to her fans.
- She's real. She makes mistakes like anybody and doesn't gloss over that. Again, haters use her mistakes against her, but I think her mistakes highlight the wonderful uniqueness of her as a person, and strengthen the social statements she makes.
To elaborate on that last point, I think her stunt at that baseball game where she wore lingerie and gave the press the finger in response to all the unwanted extra attention is one of the most positive and necessary, and unfortunately misunderstood, feminist artistic statements ever. (Whether or not it was intentional or an honest mistake is besides the point, because "death of the author": the artistic statement stands on its own.) In today's world, young women are given this horrible mixed message that they must both be simultaneously sexually available and chaste in appearance and vibe for acceptance. It's an impossible and thankless task, and very few women are lucky enough to actually figure out how to pull it off for MOST of the people in their lives, and no matter what choice they make, they are looked down upon or ridiculed for it by SOMEBODY, male or female. It's the nature of the beast: "WHAT is she wearing?" "You were dressed like that and you're upset about all the attention? What did you expect!?" "Your honour, she was dressed very provocatively." "Stop covering your face because of your religion. Let's pass a law outlawing your so-called 'religious practice.'" "LOL, you don't have any style, and that's why you don't get respect." etc. etc. etc.
My heart goes out to every young woman who has to abruptly say goodbye to the innocence of youth, and then respond to this impossible mixed message and be endlessly scrutinized for her efforts. In most of these cases, the feeling of being upset itself is invalidated by a demand, voiced or implicit, of "What did you expect?" So if the woman really was ignorant or oblivious of the social precedent she was violating, it's considered illegitimate as an excuse: She ought to have known better.
Let Gaga's statement stand in solidarity: She wore something much more ridiculous than anybody, in a situation where she SURELY ought to have known how people would react, even if she weren't famous, and reacted with indignance anyways. So for every young woman who feels like they're not entitled or empowered to react with indignance in a situation of wardrobe scrutiny, she did in that situation, and you certainly can too.
The negative way that the press reacted highlights the point that something needs to be done about the poisonous social atmosphere perpetuated by this double-standard; nobody thinks about this enough because that would be inconvenient. It's the type of critical thinking where the most is at stake, and that's why it's so often rejected. If we don't have to answer to each other, or even ourselves, for it, we will have to from future generations. They will look back at this era as a very sexist time, and they will also vindicate Lady Gaga as the artistic hero she is.
· 8 years ago