Daily Archives: June 4, 2010

Lady Gaga & Feminism – Why Is It So Hard To Believe?

Lady Gaga was on Larry King on June 1st, 2010. I just watched it, and once again, female artists have to defend themselves for their art, presentation, and politics.

Larry King asked if Gaga was a feminist, she said:

“Yes. Yes I am. I am a feminist. Does this settle the ongoing debate once and for all?”

Why is it so hard for people to believe that Gaga is a feminist?  I have a few thoughts on the matter.

Is it because she is a pop-star, and somehow we have obscured pop music/stardom with instant sell-out status, misogyny, and manufactured faux empowerment?

That isn’t to say that there is some of that in music, and that pop music, like every other music genre has issues with gender, race, class, looks, ect, but presuming this of pop music limits one from experiencing some amazing talent. Just becaise you can dnace to is, and it is accessable to the majority of people don’t make it lesser than. Pop music has a long-standing tradition of being seen as feminine, and as “of the body,” which is seen as less artistically sound and worthy than the masculine, “of the mind” rock or indie music scenes.

Is it because Lady Gaga is an attractive woman and hence, could never be a feminist, because you know, feminists are ugly, fat, hairy, bra-burners!

Ha, you know that one. All the myths associated with feminism, I’ve heard them all before! They never seem to go away. Let’s run them down: feminists are only women, they are not attractive (ugly), hate men (perhaps because their ugliness denies them a suitable mate), hate children, are lesbians, angry, don’t wear make-up, witches, choose career over family, cock-blockers, want to rule over men….did I get them all? These myths serve in separating women from each other, and deter women from joining a movement that is about social, political and economic equality for not just women, but all. There is nothing wrong with that, except that it challenges a system of inequality in our culture that continues to keep women in a second class status. Challenging that is dangerous. Therefore these myths exist to maintain the status quo and silence any opposition.  And why would a beautiful woman want to get involved with any of that? She apparently has everything right? Oh, how wrong that assumption is, and Lady Gaga isn’t fooled by those myths. She smashes them with a sequined, flame-engulfed hammer.

You could say Gaga even makes fun of the whole bra-burner myth via her fabulous spark-bra.

Is it because young feminists often have different approaches toward fighting for equality that often to not mesh with previous generations’ views and ideas of how to accomplish those goals?

I think in some cases this is true. Much has been written about the second-wave/third-wave generational divide among feminists where the 2nd wave thinks that the 3rd wave has forgotten what their mothers fought for and take it for granted, while 3rd wavers think that the 2nd wave’s politics are irrelevant to current needs and narrow on interdisciplinary issues. I agree there may be some conflict here, but most of it is just a fabrication to further divide women. It assumes this weird Freudian oppositional relationship between mothers/daughters, old/young activists that cannot be reconciled, and is just inevitable. It also has this quite snobby tone that young women are ungrateful, foolish, self-absorbed, and older women are judgemental cronies, which isn’t exactly a very feminist assumption to make now is it? There are all types of activists fighting for equality, and many, many ways to do this. Just because the current generation’s ways may not look like the previous’ doesn’t mean young women have been duped by the patriarchy. Assuming young women do not have agency and intelligence, and previous generations are ignorant just furthers it.

Is it because she is a woman claiming feminism at a time when it has been deemed irrelevant?

I think this is it. It is assumed that we don’t need feminism anymore because everything is just peachy now right?  Mission accomplished, men and women are equal! ? Nope. Sorry.

As much as this would be a feminist best thing ever moment, we are not yet there. Women are still oppressed in the US and across the globe. Women still make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, eating disorders run rampant, 1 in 3 women will be raped and/or sexually assaulted within her lifetime, lesbian couples cannot marry and are denied visitation rights to their partners, pregnancy/menstruation/menopause are seen as “problems” that need fixed with drugs and invasive medical procedures, pharmacists can refuse to fill your birth control prescriptions and medical professionals can deny abortion services, AIDS is the fastest growing STI among women especially women of color, women make up over half of the population but are barely visible in “representative” governments, we still have sexual harassment in the workplace, sexism in hiring and promoting with the glass ceiling, childcare and motherhood are still devalued and not considered “real” work, and of course, women in the music industry are still seen as tits and asses to sell products, not as actual creative people who can produce and sell music based on talent.

Lady Gaga is an amazing musician, activist for the gay/lesbian community, homeless youth, patron against AIDS, advocate for safe sex, speaking up for female artists, and for the next generation of feminism.

Lady Gaga is a feminist. I am a feminist. Many women, of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors are feminists, men are feminists. You can be a feminist too. All you have to do is admit that we have a problem, and that we need to do something about it. Lady Gaga is, I am, what are you doing to end injustice?

Lady Gaga on her Feminism via FashionGearLive:

“I am a feminist. I reject wholeheartedly the way we are taught to perceive women. The beauty of women, how a woman should act or behave. Women are strong and fragile. Women are beautiful and ugly. We are soft spoken and loud, all at once. There is something mind-controlling about the way we’re taught to view women. My work, both visually and musically, is a rejection of all those things. And most importantly a quest. It’s exciting because all of the avant-garde clothing, and musical style and lyrics that at one time was considered shocking or unacceptable are now trendy. Perhaps we can make women’s rights trendy. Strength, feminism, security, the wisdom of the woman. Let’ make that trendy.”

My previous posts on Why Lady Gaga is a feminist.

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