Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why I Think Lady GaGa is a Feminist

I was so glad that the recent "feminist" episode of Glee was mentioned in class because it brought up the fabulous Madonna. As I said in class, I have been in repeated discussions with some of my friends regarding women like Madonna, Beyonce, and Lady GaGa. I argue that these are strong, powerful, respected women. Their achievements and what each of these women represent are good for women in general. However, my bar-talk discussion mates argue that they use their bodies and their sexuality to achieve what they have achieved and that fact negates the good they have done for women in show business. As we discussed in class, this is a legitimate argument. How can these women represent empowerment when they are merely operating within the patriarchy that is already in place? They are exploiting themselves for personal gain and are representing themselves as sexual objects. While I can concede to this argument, I believe that Lady GaGa is a pop icon who is indeed feminist. Not only does she make super awesome dance music, she markets herself in a way that does not necessarily align with the typical female pop star. Although she wears provocative and showy clothing, she does not do it in a way that is sexualized. She often covers her face and simply wears clothing that is bizarre and strange. I have not met a man yet who thinks that Lady GaGa is traditionally sexy. If any person, man or woman, wants to be successful in show business they need to be flashy, showy, and unique. While Lady GaGa wears “revealing” clothing, she does it in a way that does not simply appeal to male conceptions of female beauty. She wears her costumes as exactly that, costumes for show. Additionally, she is an extremely self made, self motivated artist. She is a classically trained pianist and is very involved in the production and writing of her music. Every person in Hollywood has to sell themselves and market themselves, but Lady GaGa is not a product of some cookie cutter production entity. Another thing that I find very significant is that Lady GaGa has been known to wear a strap on dildo during some of her shows. She is obviously trying to send the message that she does not want people to look at her as only a woman on stage performing, but a serious artist who should not be considered some hot body sex symbol. I think that it is awesome that GaGa does this. I know that people will disagree with me that of all people, I am touting Lady GaGa and her crazy outfits as a symbol of feminism, but I find her intriguing and truly see her as furthering the status of women in show business. I’m looking forward to see some of your comments, especially Lindsay, my fellow bar-talk buddy. Cherry Cherry Boom Boom!!

1 comment:

  1. Surely, she is an ostensibly self-supporting pop star, writing her own talk-moan dance tracks (Bad Romance) or simply throwaway hits (Just Dance). Those are aesthetic issues I dislike in her music, not issues with her person. However, I do not find feminist perspectives in her music itself.

    Her ever-growing popularity was mentioned in class as a measure of her success, implying that this supports her "feminist" status. But in a climate which supports such charlatans as Kesha, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, et al, using popularity to measure one's support for female autonomy, gender equity, etc, seems wholly specious. The demographic supporting Lady GaGa, I would wager, to a significant degree is the one that supports "artists" such as Britney Spears.

    A massive qualification of my points must be made. Her qualities outside of her music may prove her status as a feminist, though initially she denied the charge. People can grow considerably in a year’s time, but last year Lady GaGa was interviewed by a Norwegian journal, in which she revealed some strange ideas about feminism:

    "You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting here with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch and talking about how I make music 'cause I love fast cars and fucking girls, you'd call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I'm a female, because I make pop music, you're judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I'm just a rock star."

    "Are you also a feminist?"

    "I'm not a feminist - I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars..."

    Of course, near the end of the year she admitted for another publication that she was "a little bit of a feminist." It would seem, though, that her outside activities have become what we would call feminist. Supporting her homosexual fans, espousing the ideal of the strong, autonomous woman and, as Leah noted, embodying wild variations of traditional gender roles. An illuminating yet short article on the subject can be found here:


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