Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Still trying to decide what I think about Lady Gaga...

I saw this great video with a male acapella group singing a Lady Gaga medley (mostly Bad Romance)

I thought I'd use it as an intro to some thoughts on Lady Gaga. I have to admit, I am not overly familiar with her as an artist; I have heard her songs that regularly play on the radio, I play Pokerface on the piano and Bad Romance on the guitar, and I find her music fun to dance to, but I do not have any of her albums, nor do I have her songs on my playlist. What I have been following more closely is some of the discussions around whether or not she is a feminist.

She claimed that she is not a feminist, saying "I'm not a feminist - I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars..." Then, she apparently realized that loving men and being a feminist are not incompatible because she later said "I'm getting the sense that you're a little bit of a feminist, like I am, which is good" and goes on to discuss how the music business can be different for women than it is for men.

Another thing she did that I think is great is alternate representations of people with disabilities (found here), which, on the one hand, show interesting images of different types of bodies that do not entirely fit in to "normal" images within pop culture. On the other hand, some argue that she is sexualizing the disabled body (which may or may not be a problem).

I think my favorite thing about Lady Gaga is how she takes images typically found within pop culture, such as poses or fashion, and changes it just enough to make a different type of image. Yes, she does conform to dominant beauty standards in many ways, I'm not sure she would be all that successful if she didn't, but sometimes I find she changes what would otherwise be a very sexual image just enough to make it different. For example, even though her clothes can be revealing, the weirdness of them takes away what might otherwise be blatant sexuality to turn it into something interesting as opposed to simply fitting into the male gaze.

However, her new video Telephone (found here), seems to conform to a more dominant music narrative, including revealing clothing and tons of product placements... Maybe it could be read differently- it does feature one of the few "butch" lesbian images in modern pop culture, and there could be meaning behind the products and lack of clothing... maybe I just don't get it this time.

Anyway, I'm wondering other people's opinion of her, whether it be related to feminism or academia, or just personal likes/dislikes about her music...

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