It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I like Lady Gaga.
For a while I felt like she was just another pop princess and what did I care really, all their music generally sounds the same on the dance floor. But after a while, I could see that she was pretty subversive and she did things that made a lot of people uncomfortable so if nothing else, I had to admit that she was not the status quo. What really sold me was the way she stands up for the LGBTQ community, and her efforts to combat social bullying more widely. Whether you like her music or not, you’ve gotta give the woman some credit for turning her ideological assertions into actions.
Haaaaving said that, she can be a bit of a loon. I appreciate the message Gaga was trying to send with the meat dress, but the execution was just a bit icky. Also, her recent perfume launch, wherein guests were invited to watch her sleep in an egg, may have been meant to approximate Becks’ sweet dreaming, but it sorta just came across as narcissistic and well… loony!
Suffice it to say, I was surprised to find myself thinking, ‘Huh, that is so incredibly sane!’ when I read Gaga’s response to the recent attention given to her weight gain. I think it is nothing short of marvelous to hear someone like Gaga pointing at the media and saying, ‘You people have lost your mind! The US economy is tanking, human injustice abounds, and we’re in an election year and all you want to talk about is my waistline? Swivel on it’! Okay, she didn’t say exactly that, but close enough! And it’s wonderful!
I have, in another context, complained loudly about the bankruptcy of celebrity culture, particularly with regards to famous women and their bodies. I appreciate that it’s sometimes hard to feel sorry for women who have bajillions of dollars and who get to roam around in designer clothes all day, every day, but I would argue that it is of utmost importance to remember that these ladies are still human beings. That means they deserve—yes, deserve—the same dignity and respect we expect to be treated with.
So when a famous woman gains weight, or loses weight, or goes out without makeup, it seems to me entirely unremarkable and I mean that literally. I see absolutely no reason to remark upon these happenings. I have days where I either choose not to wear makeup, or I’ve squirrelled around on Twitter too long and so don’t have time to put any on, and you know what people say to me? ‘Gosh, you look really tired’. Rude! It makes me feel awful and self-conscious… and I’m a nobody. Imagine how Gaga must feel to see her caboose plastered all over the international media scene, complete with degrading headlines!
A similar scenario seems to have befallen Mila Kunis and I personally am starting to hope that these ladies are gaining weight in protest. I would love to think that Gaga or Mila were sitting around one afternoon, after yet another grueling fat-burning workout, saying to themselves, ‘you know what? This isn’t fun. I don’t even like exercising this much and I hate the way my collarbones stick out. I’m going for a four-cheese pizza and a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake. Peace. Out’.
Obviously I have an over-active imagination, and it has the potential to lead me astray, but my point is that whether these ladies keep their new-found 30lbs or whether they revert back to mini-me sizes, I like the idea that they are actively making choices about their own bodies. More of this, please! We need women in the spotlight making choices about their bodies based on what they feel is best for themselves and putting their hands up to the faces of any dissenters in a ‘you best step off, this is none of yo’ business’ fashion.
I’m glad I had a good, solid moment with Gaga; she did me proud. Of course, it was only a moment. Her comments about Adele (i.e., ‘Adele is bigger then me’) made me want to shrink into a ball and roll away into a Gaga-less land. I know that Gaga was trying to pay Adele a compliment, particularly with regards to her confidence, but it was a backhanded one, to say the least. If anything, I think it illuminates the ridiculousness of the situation these ladies are in; that any one of them feels they have to find someone ‘worse’ in order to justify their own existence is a crying shame.
There are myriad problems with the ways we as a culture consume the Celebrity Body and obviously, even Gaga herself has a hard time making sense of these issues. Nevertheless, I think we can celebrate Gaga’s sane moment and give her a little *fist pump* for putting her pasta-eating arse in the face of the media and telling them to kiss it. Nobody has a right to tell her she’s less beautiful, less talented or worth less and I, for one, and a huge fan of Italian food… I especially like the way it looks on Gaga.
Image via Littlemonsters.com's Body Revolution