Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lady Gaga: Feminist? Sexist? Both?

Most celebrities are easy to label as “feminist” or “sexist.” Mel Gibson: sexist. Geena Davis: feminist. Tom Cruise: sexist. Uma Thurman: feminist. But Lady Gaga completely baffles me.

I was never into Lady Gaga, but when she did a free concert near me, I listened to both her CDs. Her voice is amazing, but I find her performance art distracting, since she doesn’t need the gimmick that it provides. When I listened to her second album The Fame Monster and heard the upcoming single “Dance in the Dark,” I had to wonder if Lady Gaga was a feminist or not. It hadn’t occurred to me before. Then it hit me that Lady Gaga is a woman who shows her skin and doesn’t care what people think about her, so I assumed she was a feminist. With a song like “Dance in the Dark,” about a woman who feels uncomfortable with her body so she only “dances” (a euphemism for sex) in the dark, and then mentions deceased strong women in history, how could I not assume? Then when I heard the songs on her other album, The Fame, and heard lyrics like “I do not accept any less / Than someone just as real as fabulous” and “Can’t sleep with a man who dims my shine,” I continued to assume.

So I did research about the ever-fascinating Gaga. And found her nude photo shoot. And heard her say, in response to being described as a feminist, “I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men.” I cringed. Except then I found another interview where she said to the reporter, “I’m getting the sense that you’re a little bit of a feminist, like I am, which is good. I find that men get away with saying a lot in this business, and that women get away with saying very little…In my opinion, women need and want someone to look up to that they feel have the full sense of who they are, and says, ‘I’m great.’”

So nu, is Lady Gaga feminist or sexist?

I think Gaga is a lot more feminist than she thinks she is and claims to be. I think that most people, especially women, have feminist tendencies, even if they won’t admit it or don’t realize it. How many women out there, other than Schlaflyites, don’t want equal pay for equal work? I think Gaga wants her rights within the music industry. She doesn’t want a double standard to be applied to her, and that’s exactly what the feminist movement is all about: getting equal rights. We don’t want to be held up to a higher or lower standard. We want to be judged equally. And that’s what I think Lady Gaga’s after.

I’m reluctant to put her in the Shining Stars of Davida, since she did equate feminism with man-hating, and the only way to make up for that one is to shout “I AM A FEMINIST!” from the rooftops. I’m also reluctant to put her in the Black Holes of Davida, since she did say that she’s a little bit of a feminist, and that slightly makes up for the feminism = man-hating comment. So for right now, I’m just keeping my eye on her next album and waiting to see if she ever calls herself a feminist. Imagine what good it could do for this generation’s teens to hear Lady Gaga, their idol, call herself a feminist…

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I was getting stick from my wife for listening to Gaga as she sees her as part of the problem. Personally, I just like the music.
    So different people will always have different definitions, never reconcilable.