Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Gaga Debate

Yes, yes, I realize that this is yet another commentary on an article that I've read - and I do realize I might be becoming redundant or at the very least predictable. With that admission aside, I "found" this article in a status message update on a friend's Facebook page.

I also realize that debates about Lady Gaga are nothing new. But the debate over whether she is an empowered feminist or another victim of self-exploitation is one I found to be quite interesting. I also post this article for your perusal, judgment and hopefully comments with the admission that a good portion of my office is Lady Gaga obsessed. In fact, a few of the staff spent one day last week bringing me up to date on the latest of her strange videos.

I'll admit that I am a big fan of her music (what can I say? it's amazing workout music!), and find her videos strange, yet fascinating. A lot of this article is a bit over my head where philosophy is concerned (I flunked Ancient Philosophy in college and had to re-take it, painful though it was, in order to graduate). But I think the article, albeit an opinion piece, is a bit off base. If Lady Gaga fancies herself a feminist, and she feels in charge of the choreography and costuming for her videos (which I can only assume she does, since she goes out to public events like baseball games dressed in a similar fashion), then who are we to say that she is just fooling herself? Why do we get to tell her that she's actually NOT a feminist and that her works can't be viewed as such? Why we do have to tell her that she's actually a victim of the male gaze and not in charge of how the male gaze is fixed upon her?

The article references the Telephone video and its nod to Thelma and Louise. I appreciated the reference to this classic film, and pardon me if I don't think that poisoning everyone in the diner was a bit over the top. These ladies were mad and out for some revenge - sorry if they didn't stop with killing just the boyfriend. How unladylike. I'm no proponent of violence, but why is it that when women act for just a second like men, we start chastizing them. I would even go so far as to say that the video could be seen as - if not feminist, at least seen through a feminist lens. But keep in mind, I am able to find the feminism in just about anything so that I can justify my sometimes questionable media consumption. I have even made the argument that Nip/Tuck is a feminist show (that's a whole other blog, kids).

But I urge you to watch the video - heck, watch all of her videos - read the article and let us know what you think. And if you decide that Gaga and her videos can be considered feminist (even just to justify your obsession), don't feel bad. You're not the only one.

1 comment:

  1. "two thumbs up"

    I totally agree with you! I think that the woman who wrote the article is being a little too restrictive of who can identify themselves as a feminist. I think that if someone feels sexually empowered (no matter how they achieve it) should be respected - it is not our job to condemn sexual liberation, we have the misogynist to do that for us.