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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lady Gaga Brushes Off Idea of Feminism

I was stumbling around on YouTube the other day and I came across this interview with Lady Gaga:

It's kind of hard to hear the interviewer ask some of the questions, but you can get the gist of them.

Even though she seems kind of out of it, I had some hope for the interview at the beginning (despite her comment about the biggest thrill of her career being the gay community). Lady Gaga talked about infusing her songs with sexuality. Does the sexuality in her songs take away from the music? Her answer: No. It's part of the music. And would the interviewer even be asking her this question if she were a guy who talked about sex in his songs? I don't think so. She pointed this out very effectively I thought. Sexual music made by men is celebrated (by some) where as sexual music by women is criticized for being too sexual. She points out that if she were a guy who sang about fast cars and sex, the question about sexuality interfering with her music wouldn't even be asked. But because she's a woman talking about sexuality, her music and values are policed.

But then it came. That moment when I went "whoa there." The interviewer asked Lady Gaga if she was a feminist. A reasonable question, especially when she was just talking about the gender double standard of sexuality in music. But Lady Gaga seemed offended. She said that she was not a feminist, which is fine, I don't know if I would classify her as feminist. But my problem came with her reasonings behind why she was not a feminist. She's not a feminist because she loves men, she love American male culture, which she defines as beer and bars.

I'm a fan of men too. I love beer and bars. But I'm also a feminist because I believe in ending sexism and misogyny and I believe in gender equality. I would classify her previous comment about the gender double standard of sexuality in music as feminist because it points out the inequality between men and women. But the belief that feminism is all about man-hating is just not true.

I would hope that society in general would be past the belief that feminism is all about man-hating. I definitely know that there are still people who believe this, but I would think that most of society would be past that. Obviously that's just wishful thinking.

So while Lady Gaga does do and say and sing some empowering things for women about claiming your own sexuality (which is important to feminism), Lady Gaga is officially an anti-feminist in my book for the belief that feminism is about man-hating. While her actions may be empowering for some women, the values behind those actions that Lady Gaga holds about feminism shows that her intention is not really to empower women and work towards equality.


Jaime said...

And the interview started so well....I love it, she's trying desperately hard to be edgy and yet feminism is just that little bit too edgy for her. :-D

Anonymous said...

I don't think things are as simple as pro- or anti-feminist. Lady Gaga is, I think, 21 or 22 years old. She is, for all intents and purposes, not fully intellectually developed. She has some great ideas, but she isn't finished yet. She may never change, may never learn that feminism isn't defined by a hatred of men, but if her answers are still empowering and relevant, I don't think we have to judge her for not being ready for or fully understanding a label.

Laura said...

Maybe she will change her view about feminism being about man-hating. But she is still promoting that idea in mainstream culture right now.

Plus, 21 or 22 year olds are perfectly capable of understanding feminist thought. I'm 22. Yes, there is definitely still room for development and everyone is constantly learning. But I think by age 22, you have your basic beliefs pretty firmly rooted in your values system. They may develop from there, but the basic beliefs are already there.

And yes, some of what she does is empowering, in a certain light. But definitely not all of it. With the contradicting messages that she is sending, I am pretty confident in calling her out on her anti-feminist beliefs.

See this post for more information about the "empowering" messages that Megan Fox and Lady Gaga send:

Julie said...

As a music fan and a fan of women in rock, for such a mainstream artist her statements are pretty powerful. There are practically no women artists with her popularity saying what she's saying about how her sexuality would not be a question if she were male. Sure, she's fails at it sometimes (maybe even a lot of the time), but at least something is being said. The music business is incredibly misogynistic. All you have to do is look at All Time Low's video for their song "Weightless" to see how most women associated with music are viewed. Compared to that, Lady Gaga is a breath of fresh air. Yes, more needs to be said (and has been such as in the zine Pretty Good For A Girl), but Lady Gaga is a step (however small) in the right direction.

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