Grrrly Talk is a new feminist column serving up pop culture commentary and local music news on, for, and by those of the XX-chromosomed variety.
News broke yesterday that Lady Gaga will be spending New Year's Eve in Miami after canceling her tour with megalomaniac Kanye West earlier this month. When I heard the announcement, I recalled the thoughts I'd had when I first found out about her. I wasn't the biggest fan, but I could see the appeal. I appreciated her outspoken support for the gay community, and on some level, admired her creative use of bubbles, space memorabilia, and wigs. She wasn't afraid to express or explore her sexuality, and did it without the wink that accompanies Katy Perry-style bi-curiosity. And despite some who saw her as a sure sign of the pop apocalypse, I always enjoy a shameless, polarizing provocateur as long as he or she has a good, smart sense of humor.
Well, all my give-her-the-benefit-of-the-doubt-type appreciation went out the window back in August after a video surfaced of a short semi-heated exchange between her and a Norwegian reporter. In the beginning of the video (below), she challenges the interviewer, who asks if her sexuality "undermines" or "distracts from her music." Her response couldn't have produced warmer tidings across the femme blogosphere.
"You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting here with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch and talking about how I make music 'cause I love fast cars and fucking girls," Gaga retorted. "You'd call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I'm a female, because I make pop music, you're judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I'm just a rock star."
Owned! Sure, the rock star self-labeling is really vain, but she rightfully calls out a double-standard that persists in the industry and beyond. Following her pointed response, the interviewer asks if she's a feminist. And in two seconds all that awesomeness just crashes down:
"I'm not a feminist. I, I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, beer, bars, and muscle cars."
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Looking past her scary choice of the word "hail" and back to her previous statement, Gaga obviously holds feminist points of view. However, she fails to give credit to the movement that's tried to change the very double standard she challenges, and only seems to perpetuate feminist man-hating stereotypes. Ironically, if you look at articles posted about her across the web, the comment sections are filled with demeaning labels such as "whore" and "slut." Others concentrate on her looks, making nasty remarks about her body. Male artists are rarely subject to this kind of demeaning, superficial criticism. So who's hating whom? Yes, it's the internet, and people are crazy, but I'd be interested to find a comment akin to "coked out whore bag slut doesn't mean she is a talented slut" referring to John Mayer or the Backstreet Boys or Justin Timberlake.
And in addition to the fact that Gaga wouldn't be where she is without the feminists who crashed down barriers regarding sexual repression, choice of profession, and self-determination, does she really want to reduce American males to beer, bars, and muscle cars? And since when do feminists hate beer?
See video of the interview below: