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Are You Sure Lady Gaga Is The Feminist Icon You Think She Is?

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Kira Cochrane kicks off the debate, and Hadley Freeman responds, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 17th September 2010 07.00 UTC

Kira Cochrane: ‘Lady Gaga exposes femininity as a sham’

The anticipated highlight of the show was – depressingly enough – a reheated argument. Before the MTV Video Music awards this year, all the talk was of whether pop princess Taylor Swift would address the debacle of 2009, when Kanye West barged on stage, interrupted her acceptance speech, and suggested Beyoncé should have won her award. Would Swift refer to this lightly in song? (She would. Yawn.) Would Kanye refer to this lightly in rap? (Not directly. Sigh.) So far, so stultifying.

And then, there she was. Lady Gaga, the big winner of the night, striding on stage in a dress made of meat. Or what looked like meat. Either way, there was the impression of sinews, fat, of oozing, bloody discharge. The outfit shouldn’t have been a surprise. Just last week the singer was pictured on the cover of Japanese Vogue, dressed in a meat bikini. But what raises a mere eyebrow at a photoshoot can raise the roof, blood pressure and an avalanche of questions when worn in public. What did the meat dress mean? Was it a comment on the treatment of women in the music industry? Was it another of Gaga’s death references? Did it reflect the boundaries of the body – representing Gaga’s own flesh, turned inside out and extending beyond all expected limitations? Was it a comment on mutability? Or was it just an outfit worn to grab the maximum share of the world’s attention?

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres after the show, Gaga offered her own interpretation. She had come to the awards ceremony with four former servicemen and women, all of whom had been forced to leave the US military because of the highly discriminatory, horribly dated “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (you can be gay, says this policy, so long as you never, ever reveal it). Gaga suggested her dress had been part of that statement. “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in,” she said, “if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as many rights as the meat on our bones.” Then, as if she couldn’t quite bear to pin herself down to a single meaning, she picked up a copy of Japanese Vogue, and pointed at the cover. “I am not a piece of meat,” she said, with feeling.

The meat dress attracted attention at a time when Gaga’s very unpredictability had begun to seem predictable, when her constant innovation had threatened to drag. Some of the writers and commentators I spoke to for this piece – many of whom love her – professed that they’d nevertheless become slightly weary of the newness, of the fact that every day Gaga would wear something, say something, do something that seemed primed to provoke a blog, an article, a comment. Shock will eat itself. And then, most of those same writers laughed and admitted the irony. None could name any other major pop star, or pop culture personality right now, who they could say the same about – any other artist who could stand accused on the grounds that they were just too impossibly inventive.

Gaga’s latest outfit broke through that torpor, and revived questions that have circulated since she first appeared in the charts just two years ago. Who is the 24-year-old pop star formerly known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta? Is she a brilliant performance artist – or an empty provocateur? Is she driven by ideas, or neediness? Is she a feminist icon, or just a slightly offbeat sex object? Is she an important, influential artist who will endure – or another derivative desperado?

Camille Paglia has already been to work on some of these questions in a piece in the Sunday Times last weekend. It wasn’t positive. She called Gaga a “ruthless recycler of other people’s work”, and suggested there was an “essential depressiveness and spiritual paralysis” about her. She compared her negatively with David Bowie, Madonna, Marlene Dietrich and Elton John. And what seemed to irk her most was what she considers Gaga’s fundamental lack of sex appeal. “Gaga isn’t sexy at all,” she wrote. “She’s like a gangly marionette or plasticised android. How could a figure so calculated and artificial, so clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism have become the icon of her generation? Can it be that Gaga represents the exhausted end of the sexual revolution? . . . Marlene and Madonna gave the impression, true or false, of being pansexual. Gaga, for all her writhing and posturing, is asexual.”

What was interesting about Paglia’s article was its implication that, in order to be a star – and particularly a female star – you have to be sexually appealing. This was underlined by her list of female singers she does admire. “Among the magnetic presences in music today,” she wrote, “are tigresses of charismatic sensuality or gamines of buoyant charm – Beyoncé, Shakira, Rihanna, Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado.” All of which apparently ignored the fact that, for her fans, one of Gaga’s key attractions is precisely her dismissal of traditional, feminine sex appeal, of the need to be charming, of the values and aesthetic of other female singers: the ripe, pert bodies, the pretty, familiar costumes.

Of course, Gaga does sometimes embrace the iconography of traditional sex appeal. She often wears a basque, or other underwear, and vertiginously high heels; just this week, after the MTV awards, she wandered through an airport in bra, knickers, ripped fishnets and a gold leather jacket, a pair of handcuffs swinging from her waist. In her Telephone video – which attracted huge interest, but wasn’t her finest hour – she danced in stilettos and a stars and stripes bikini, aping sexploitation films such as Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! a reference that just seemed worn and wearisome.

But for every bikini, for every batted eyelash, Gaga introduces intimations of the grotesque, the repulsive. The meat dress is an obvious case in point. As is her appearance at the end of the Bad Romance video, lying beside a smoking corpse, sparks putt-putting from her bra. And then there was her performance on The X Factor last year, singing that same song. She and her dancers gyrated in an enormous bath – so far, so kooky-but-palatable – and then Gaga perched on a toilet. I repeat: a toilet. There’s almost nothing that could have been more subversive; as the feminist writer, Melissa McEwan, points out, “there is an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie isn’t able to go to the bathroom in Big’s apartment”. For a singer – and, again, especially a female singer – to introduce these kind of references into a performance, in such a matter-of-fact way, with no wink or humour, was genuinely astounding.

In some ways, Gaga’s entire persona seems to question what’s expected of women. It’s there in the internal contradiction of her name: “Lady” with its suggestions of gentility, sweetness, high breeding; “Gaga” with its intimations of infantility, madness, antic spirit. She has often been compared with a drag queen and, in many ways, this seems apt. Part of the brilliance and beauty of drag, of course, is that it can potentially expose sex roles – most often femininity – as a performance. A drag queen in enormous false eyelashes, teetering heels, a tight dress, heavy makeup, a voluminous wig, talon-like nails, is mimicking a woman, while underlining that what’s expected of women is in no way natural. With her increasingly bizarre getups, Gaga does the same.

In fact, she exposes femininity as a sham in all sorts of ways. If the typically feminine woman is supposed to be simpering, seductive, weak, manipulated – essentially submissive – Gaga kicks against all these qualities. There have been suggestions that her fame, prominence and phenomenal success is based on the power and talent of the people she works with, that she’s just a puppet of a corporate machine. But this seems highly unlikely. She has spoken of her early fights with her record label over her aesthetic, saying that “the last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star, writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself”. As Dodai Stewart, writer and editor for feminist blog Jezebel.com says, “record labels are obviously corporate, the music industry is obviously corporate. But, for instance, I don’t think that her appearing with the soldiers on the red carpet is manufactured. I think that that’s consistent with what she’s been saying from the beginning.”

One of the other qualities that is always considered central to being a woman is a desire for a partner, love, romance. Gaga has made some surprising pronouncements on this front before – on one occasion she said that she believes “in certain institutions: cooking, serving dinner, taking care of my family. So I consider myself quite the lady.” As McEwan notes though, there have been rumours of boyfriends, but “unlike Madonna, who has always famously lived with some guy, and everyone knows her husband, her boyfriend’s name, and what they’re doing, Gaga is really an entity unto herself. She’s not famously partnered, which I think is remarkable. I’ve read occasionally that she’s dating somebody, but I’ve never really paid attention to it, and neither has the press. I suspect that’s because she’s allowed to be independently sexual in a way that other young women aren’t.” Where Jennifer Aniston’s single status is constantly picked over, Gaga has carved out a space where she can stand alone, and that loneliness actually heightens, rather than diminishes, her power.

This loneliness is also emphasised by her costumes, many of which act as exo-skeletons, essentially cages within which she performs. While most women in the spotlight are intent on appearing as small as possible – and Gaga is certainly physically tiny, a 5ft 2in stripling – her costumes are often bulky, lumpy, tough, hard, impenetrable. She has appeared encased in concentric metal hoola hoops, in a coat made of Kermits, a skirt made of a Muppet’s head, a multitude of masks, studs, lace and latex, crowns and feathers and a massive lurex tent. McEwan sees these outfits as a commentary on female consent; a woman taking ownership of her body and keeping others at arm’s length. “She’s a performance artist,” she says, “and a lot of what she does is physically representative of this outer shell. The gyroscope outfit was just ridiculously distancing – as was the time she wore the Kermit outfit. You couldn’t hug her, even if you wrapped your arms around her. You wouldn’t be anywhere close, because she wears these outfits that are physically distancing. I think that’s an affected and deliberate look that says: you can’t touch me . . . She’s very positive about her fans, she reaches out to them, loves them, talks very fondly to them from the stage. But her suits of armour say that they can’t just walk up and touch her. Nobody can.”

Gaga’s outfits are distancing and, in some ways, dehumanising. In fact, the downside of her act – the fact that the performance, is, as Paglia rightly says, so artificial at all times – is that very little of the real, the emotional, the passionate, is ever allowed to leak through. We never, ever get to see or understand who she really is. Gaga seems to live inside a mass of contradictions: one moment she says she’s not a feminist, “I hail men”; the next she’s declaring she is a feminist, and making feminist remarks (“When I say to you, there is nobody like me, and there never was, that is a statement I want every woman to feel and make about themselves”). Is this slipping and sliding some form of evolution, or just a sign of someone who is terrified of being pinned down?

The stories that do emerge about life behind the costumes are often windy tabloid tales of exhaustion or weight loss, which can seem like desperate attempts to turn her into this year’s Britney Spears or Amy Winehouse, just another female car crash. “They’ve tried everything,” Gaga told Rolling Stone earlier this year, “when they start saying that you have extra appendages [it's been suggested that she has a penis] you have to assume that they’re unable to destroy you. I’ve got scratch marks all over my arms, and they say I’m a heroin addict. It’s from my costumes. When I pass out onstage, they say that I’m burning out, when I have my own a) personal health issues, and b) it’s fucking hot up there and I’m busting my ass every night.”

I hope the media don’t succeed in destroying her. I don’t love Gaga – to have a really emotional response to her, you have to love surface, pure performance, you have to love the work of someone such as Andy Warhol, whom Gaga directly references, whose creations were obviously never about heart. But I do admire her. I think she’s fascinating. And I think she makes us question what women today are, and should be. Most importantly, she doesn’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. And, in terms of traditional femininity, nothing could be more radical than that.

Kira Cochrane

Hadley Freeman: ‘A Grace Jones copyist, but with worse music’

Her recent songs, I grant you, aren’t terrible. Not the earlier stuff, of course: Love Game, Just Dance, Eh Eh – to love those is to love watered-down rehashes of those famous titans of the musical world, Whigfield and Ace of Bass. Bad Romance and Telephone are fine, although they are basically the musical equivalent of cocaine – initially fun but ultimately unsatisfying, leading one to listen to them again and again in search of something that seemed to be there once. This is a brilliant tactic for success in the short term but makes the songs about as ephemeral as, well, bad drugs.

Yet Stefani Germanotta’s celebrity status (sorry – I just physically cannot make my fingers type the word “Gaga” in a sentence that is intended to have an actual point) has nothing to do with her music. It’s to do with her persona, one that has been repeatedly described, with no discernible irony, as “original”, “feminist” and “iconic”, with the latter two qualities being dependent on the first, which is precisely where the whole argument falls apart. From her name (which she ripped from a Queen song) to her music to her every look, everything has been done before. Even the meat dress she wore this week was done by Elsa Schiaparelli more than 70 years ago. This is not making a knowing cultural reference, it’s not having a single idea of one’s own. Now, lack of originality isn’t necessarily a bad thing – heaven knows Madonna copied plenty of people along the way. But it is a problem when originality is supposed to be one’s greatest quality. The fact is, she is little more than a Grace Jones copyist with more gratuitous nudity and worse music.

I spent a day with Germanotta last year for a magazine article and, my God, I can tell you, I did not feel like I’d spent 24 hours basking in the light of a modern-day icon at the end of it. I felt like I’d been stuck with a particularly difficult girl from my old school days. Which was precisely the case.

Despite Germanotta’s fondness for focusing on her time living on the Lower East Side and, as she is so fond of recounting in interviews, chuffing down cocaine (which might explain her music), she, like me, went to a stuffy school on New York’s Upper East Side, which doesn’t have quite the same cachet as hanging out on Avenue D. Naively, I told her about this connection between us, thinking she might enjoy the common ground. Her response was to flounce out of the room and not talk to me for an hour. It’s hard to pretend you’re someone else with somebody who knows how you used to look in your school PE kit.

She repeatedly told me how smart she is, which she proved by tapping her head every time she said the word “smart” and at the end of the day Madonna, whom Gaga was supposed to meet later (the meeting of icons!), bailed. I always liked Madonna.

Hadley Freeman

• Love the lady or does she drive you gaga? Leave a comment below or email g2feedback@guardian.co.uk

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

By:           Queerty Editor
On:           Sep 17, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • 36 Comments
    • Whiz
      Whiz

      Bwhahaha! Do people ACTUALLY believe she is in ANY way a feminist icon? Please, I doubt there are people in the world that stupid. Oh wait…the 2000 and 2004 elections here in the U.S. …Erm…nevermind.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wannabegay2
      wannabegay2

      tell me one celebrity who talks about women’s independence, about gay rights and i’ll tell you that lady gaga is the only one.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Nick ok
      Nick ok

      She went to an awards ceremony, attended by hundreds of women “all dressed up” looking beautiful and sexy for their men, in a dress made of meat. Of course she’s a bloody feminist. She’s turned the ultimate feminist metaphor into a tangible spectacle.
      She’s good.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlyloo
      Carlyloo

      Yes many of us do think she is a feminist icon. Feminists do not come in only one mold. Ultimately, a feminist woman is a woman who is not afraid to be whomever she wishes to be, to express herself however she wishes, to pursue any goal she has in mind, to say whatever she wishes to say….. She is also a woman who fights for equality for all humans. Gaga is such a woman. She is flawed like we all are of course, but she is giving it her all. Feminism is not about ignoring our sexuality, or dressing in a certain way, or paroting a set of approved political statements. I certainly do not agree with everything she says or does, but that is what we are fighting for. For women to have the genuine choices.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcus M.
      Marcus M.

      Here’s the thing: I only kinda like Gaga. I admire a lot about her but my chief concern is that her music is nowhere near as innovative as her public persona. Once she starts making music as weird and Bjork-like as her image, then I’ll go crazy.

      That said: I’m totally confused by Queerty’s recent attempts to smear her. She’s undeniably an advocate for gay men AND lesbians and she’s doing very interesting things with subverting gender and sexuality. Nick Ok’s comment (#3) is a very good example of her willingness to bend rules. In some ways, I guess I should be glad her music is so unadorned because it’s made her more mainstream accessible, which is extra fun because a lot of her messages are very far away from that which puts her in a powerful spot.

      I don’t get why we are attempting to destroy those who have our back when we need all the friends and support we can.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ellen M
      Ellen M

      Refusing to call her Lady Gaga just seems like an attempt to belittle the pop-star. Boohoo, Gaga didn’t want to be gal pals even though she went to a similar high school.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Carlyloo,

      Feminism is not about doing whatever you wish to do. Feminism is about making the right choices and empowering yourself against male heterosexual fantasy and patriarchy in general.

      Is a woman who chooses to remain with an abusive husband a feminist? After all, she’s chosen to do so. Under the “doing whatever you wish to do” definition, this woman would be classified as a feminist.

      Is a woman who dresses like a prostitute a feminist? After all, it’s her choice. Again, under the “doing whatever you wish to do” definition, this woman would be classified as a feminist.

      Quite clearly, both women in the examples above are NOT feminists. They are both man-serving doormats. They serve patriarchy and male heterosexual fantasy.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 7:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Lady Gaga = fake gay advocate. Her image is not a sign of empowerment but of behind-the-scenes planning and scheming. Her agent, her record company boss – I wouldn’t be surprised if they all have a hand in it. This is why she often appears disjointed and disconnected from publicity event to another.

      For example, Lady Gaga started off her career saying she’s bisexual. Then, when questioned by Barbara Walters, she refused to say whether she’s had sex with a woman.

      She’s a pre-planned, pre-packaged publicity seeker – like a bucket of poo at a wedding reception.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Whiz
      Whiz

      @jason: Your answer was sheer awesomeness.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlyloo
      Carlyloo

      @jason: Yes, I do think a woman who “dresses like a prostitute” can be a feminist. What does a woman’s choice of clothing have to do with it? Maybe she feels empowered in those clothes or she simply likes them. Fine by me as long as she doesn’t feel like she is supposed to wear them. Also, the woman who stays with an abusive man can have many reasons for doing so. When I say do whatever you want I mean that we are fighting for women to have a choices not be dictated to by me or any other feminist any more than any man. I cannot tell a woman what is “right”. Feminists fought for women to have the vote not to tell them how they should vote. I may not like all women’s choices but I will fight for their right to make those choices.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NovaNardis
      NovaNardis

      @jason:

      She brought soldiers discharged under DADT as her ‘dates’ to the VMAs, and has been publicly calling out Harry Reid to hold a DADT vote and encouraging her fans to call him and say the same.

      In a time when our “fierce advocate” in the White House compares our relationships to incest and bestiality.

      Ya, I think Lady Gaga is actually a really fucking good gay activist.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 10:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • wannabegay2
      wannabegay2

      @jason: lady gaga said she’s bisexual and after that she apologized to the gay community for doing so, saying that nowadays “everyone’s a bisexual” and she didn’t want that image to hurt the gay movement (is lindsay lohan bisexual for real?)

      Sep 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Carlyloo,

      Women who fought for the right to vote were fighting to achieve equality. These were the true feminists in terms of what they were fighting for – ie the right to vote.

      On the other hand, a woman who dresses like a prostitute – while her boyfriend wears a three-piece suit – isn’t fighting for equality. She’s choosing to be unequal in her level of modesty. This woman is not a feminist at all.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dollie
      Dollie

      @wannabegay2: For the most part, the music industry has been pretty “progressive” in recent decades. Especially when it comes to gay rights and female empowerment. Joan Baez did it. Cyndi did it. Madonna did it. Crass did it. Ani DiFranco did it. Gossip did it. Anti-Flag. Christina Aguilera. Dixie Chicks. Bright Eyes. Pink. Savage Garden.

      Not an uncommon statement to make (even across genres, look at that diversity!). Obviously an admirable stance, but Lady Gaga is certainly not the first or last.

      P.S.- Meat dress= Disgusting.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 2:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • thedarkchariot
      thedarkchariot

      @jason:

      No, that’s not right. When you say that only one of the “choices” is correct/feminist, then you are removing the freedom of women. Are you saying all feminists should wear power suits? Are you saying all little girls should aspire to be lawyers rather than models?

      It’s not about swinging to one extreme or another. It’s about freedom and liberty. Consider your example of a woman and an abusive husband. Feminism says that it’s important for the woman to make any choice she wants. Obviously, what she wants is constantly shaped by societal pressure, but feminism’s goal is to remove that pressure. If she does choose to stay with the husband (who would? but let’s say she does), she should then be able to still feel like she can leave any time, and should not feel pressure from society.

      With a woman who wears sexy clothes, consider conservative countries like Japan and the anime “Sailor Moon”. Sailor Moon was revolutionary because it pictured girls in short skirts. In America, that’s no big deal. In Japan, however, women are supposed to be dainty and conservative. So “Sailor Moon” was actually pretty controversial in terms of showing skin and the freedom of that. Here you have girls kicking ass while wearing whatever they wanted! It’s important for women to not feel pressure, or feel the need to conform. That is the point of feminism.

      Going back to the original example – if a little girl wants to be a lawyer, she should feel, ideally, no hesitation about what she wants to be. If she wants to be a model, similarly, she should have the same freedom. That’s what it’s all about. You can argue that society shapes the girl’s own desires, but that is a problem with society, not the girl.

      As a gay man – which I will assume you are, since you are reading Queerty, excuse me if you are not – I wonder if you experience the similar analogue. Has anyone ever asked you to “tone the ‘gay thing’ down”? Or, have you ever felt the pressure to “tone it down” for some people? This type of restriction is what we ideally, want to abolish for everyone. You should always feel comfortable being who you are.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 5:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CT
      CT

      The first article is simply excellent

      Sep 18, 2010 at 5:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      TheDarkChariot,

      In the last 20 years, feminism has merged with porn to produce a phony version of feminism. It’s basically encouraging women to dress and act like prostitutes in order to consider themselves empowered. Such a notion is fraudulent. In fact, it props up male heterosexual fantasy by encouraging women to align with what these men want.

      A woman who chooses to dress and act like a prostitute is exercising her freedom to be a man-pleasing doormat. It’s freedom but it’s not feminism.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 10:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kyle412
      Kyle412

      In my experience someone who is truly “smart” as Ms. Germanotta claims to be in the second story many times isn’t. Smart people don’t have to go around telling people they are smart. Just like goodlooking people don’t have to go around announcing they are goodlooking.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hilarious
      Hilarious

      Feminism was only one portion of the article. The much larger and in my opinion more important part is that Lady Gaga is a copy of past artists who actually were icons of their generation.

      She’s supposed to be so original yet she’s essentially taking credit for the originality of others and calling herself an artist.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Enron
      Enron

      Couldn’t read it all, all I know is, she and RedOne creates some infectious songs you cannot get out of your head.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sceth
      Sceth

      Kira Cochrane’s ridiculous obsession with empathy is laughable. The pieces above are smeared with quasi-spiritual nonsense and although I wouldn’t call Lady Gaga’s audio work as nice as Florence and the Machine, those are the only two contemporary vocal artists about which I bother. It doesn’t matter whether she’s pre-packaged, or whether she is mashup of the work of the costume designers around her. I never thought she was at all shocking – hell, I wanted this kind of thing to become mundane – and she’s the only person around right now who will do it. She [and by 'she,' I mean her image] is exciting because of my dislike of the overly emo, overly romantic nature of the rest of the industry. Regardless of whether her message is written by someone else, if you like that message, then that’s good reason to like Lady Gaga. The artist is the image, and whether Germanotta plays a minor or major role in the production of that image is irrelevant.

      And Haus of Gaga makes great dance music.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sceth
      Sceth

      @jason:
      “Quite clearly, both women in the examples above are NOT feminists. They are both man-serving doormats. They serve patriarchy and male heterosexual fantasy.”

      Funny. Where do you draw the line in defining prostitutish dress? And is an impoverished Inuit woman in an abusive community serving patriarchy by simply acknowledging what surrounds her? Don’t be a silly idealist – male heterosexuality has always existed and has always been marketable. Capitalists have an implicit onus to use it to their advantage, and using heterosexual fantasy for profit and social advantage is not being enslaved by it. Fighting patriarchy is a completely different issue, and requires substantial community involvement. Changing one’s dress doesn’t have an effect on that.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sceth
      Sceth

      I wonder which contemporary singers the authors (and some of these commenters) think to be “original.”

      Sep 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      The truth is that the more Queerty trolls both Gaga Lovers and Gaga Haters by alternately praising and bashing Gaga the more hits they get. Gotta make those Benjamins.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      And you gotta love how Jason defends the poor little wimmins by bashing “bad” women with the Madonna/Whore complex as tools of the patriarchy because they somehow violate his puritanical and sex-phobic sensibilities. The truth is that in Jason’s book the line between a “whore” and a righteous feminist is if he happens to like them or not. He then uses terms like “man-serving doormats” as weapon because he’s as just as much of a sexist of the people he’s claiming to defend women against.

      Jason doesn’t speak for me as a woman and no man has the right to define what’s a feminist anymore than a straight person has a right to define a homophobic or not.

      Yeah, so go fuck yourself Jason.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 6:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Missanthrope,

      You can say whatever you want. It’s your freedom to do so. However, you haven’t necessarily exercised that freedom in a correct manner.

      I believe that I have been successful in pointing out the fraud of feminism. Over the last 20 years, feminism has turned women into quasi-prostitutes in how they dress and behave sexually. If you ask any sleazy straight guy if he prefers this version of feminism, he’ll say yes. Women have turned themselves into man-pleasing doormats.

      It’s incredibly eerie how the appearance and behavior of many young women today is similar to that of female porn performers – ie inappropriately dressed, bisexual for the benefit of the exclusively straight male.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      Missanthrope, don’t listen to Jason. It’s well documented he’s a sexist and a misogynist. His vision of the real world is that all men are gay (he claims most men are “bisexual” but really hates the idea of a man with a woman) and all women are whores who doll themselves up like sluts in a huge secret female pact to steal those men from righteous homos like himself.

      It’s really quite the complex delusion.

      see: http://www.queerty.com/does-ikeas-new-ad-represent-beautiful-bisexual-inclusion-or-slutty-stereotypes-20100910/

      and: http://www.queerty.com/can-relax-make-bisexual-singer-dancer-blake-mcgrath-a-true-pop-star-20100918/comment-page-1/#comment-347304

      But don’t worry, he’s terribly sex-negative with men too. Claiming “bareback sex is natural,” and that we wouldn’t have this darn AIDS if it weren’t for sluts and their promiscuity.

      Sigh.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • thedarkchariot
      thedarkchariot

      @jason:

      Jason, I hear what you are saying. I get angry at the prominence of male heterosexuality too and how society seems to serve that in a very large aspect. I am very happy about Lady Gaga because I feel like she is subverting the male heterosexuality. Sure, she dresses sexy in Telephone, but take a look at Alejandro. She’s pale and sickly looking in some scenes, with an off-white very underwear-ish looking bra on.

      http://threeceebee.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Lady-Gaga-Music-Video-Alejandro.jpg

      You are arguing that a woman dressing sexy is always serving to male heterosexuality. I am arguing that while there is a blurry line between “a woman dressing sexy because she feels like it” and “a woman dressing sexy because it’s serving to men”. A girl does like to feel sexy sometimes (we all do, right?). And honestly, I would say that attitudes such as yours are part of the problem. Why is a girl who decides to get dressed up – not particularly for men, but just to feel dressed up – a whore? People do want to feel sexy. It’s a coincidence that for women to be “sexy” this merges with serving straight men. Again, the problem is with society/straight men, not with the women.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Devonasa
      Devonasa

      In reference to post # 2…ummm don’t know how about Pink, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Cher, Kathy Griffin, Liza Minnelli,Sophia Bush, and more and more.

      Why is it in the celeb culture today, we have to give more credit to one person simply because they are a bigger star, than to the others who are doing the exact same thing. Her contribution to such movements are no better or no worse, than the other celebrities who do the exact damn thing.

      Stop putting this woman on some damn pedestal, acting like what she is doing is so BRAND NEW or unheard of…

      Sep 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • swarm
      swarm

      JFC didn’t read past the meat dress part, way TOO LONG. The meat dress was fabric not meat and it represents “red meat” for the public. Or haven’t you heard Paparazzi? sigh.

      Now about this “feminist icon” business? Really? Do ppl actually use that term anymore?

      There is no feminism after the 70′s. When we foolishly thought if we could get a decent job without bias that our SIGNIFICANT OTHERS would actually COOPERATE and do some of the equal work entailed to have homes, families, kids, dogs etc. LMAO. What a freakin rip off.

      And thanks to all you moms who raised lazy assed men who think they still live at home. You have to find a gay dude to marry if you want your house not to be a pig sty.

      Sep 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • swarm
      swarm

      Oh and despite Jason’s ~enthusiasm, he’s not wrong. On this thread and on all the other ones. Women (hetero at least) have royally screwed themselves up. They’ll accept any piece of shit treatment to get “the man” or ~attention, or “the job” or whatever…. And sorry to tell – you that dysfunctional or absent father figures plays a major role.

      Sep 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jill
      Jill

      @Nick ok: She was also escorted by four soldiers discharged from the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. How about we hate on people who actually hate out community rather than trash those that support our causes.

      Sep 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Swedish Fish
      Swedish Fish

      What feminist cause has Gaga fought for? Not to discredit her, but she seems more in favor of the gays than anything.

      Sep 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • emma
      emma

      I actually think that Gaga is fairly traditional. She didn’t get much attention with her natural look, so she decided to go crazy, combined with stringent dieting (how feminist), lots of blond hair dye (ditto), and perhaps a little plastic surgery, as well. When that worked, she amplified it. I’m sure she’s always supported the gay community, but did she support the LGBT community (or women) so vocally BEFORE she started earning money from it? That’s my problem with her.

      I disagree with the first article: the typical woman is NOT “supposed to be simpering, seductive, weak, manipulated.” That was decades ago. Society is not equal yet, but postmodern feminists don’t walk around in their panties to prove that our bodies are okay. Look at all of the starlets in their bikinis. What is the difference between that and Gaga? A little fake blood? To quote Madonna: “Not.”

      I like some of Gaga’s music, but her message is not revolutionary. It’s dictated largely by money. Until she says or does something that rings true, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. What has she done that hasn’t drawn attention mainly to herself? Her team (it’s not all her) is a money maker. I give it credit for that but not for much else.

      Sep 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Acem
      Acem

      I’m not even sure Gaga is a female. I think she’s an evil cyborg transported from a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

      Sep 21, 2010 at 1:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wil Kuhlmann
      Wil Kuhlmann

      Straight women have 100% state and federal rights, so whay are we still stuck back in 1974 ?

      Mar 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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