The Legacy of Lady Gaga

With the recent Gaysi poll and Rainbow Monster’s piece “Lady Gaga, Bollywood Remix & A Disheartened Fan”, both regarding Lady Gaga’s recent desi remix of Born This Way, I felt it was time to articulate here my point of view on Ms. Stefani Germanotta.

Okay fine, I’ll call her Lady Gaga.

I have such an aversion to the Monster that I sometimes “forget” the time when I actually liked her.  It was when she released that “Telephone” video.  I tried to justify it by focusing on Beyoncé’s magic in the video, but no, I had legitimately fallen into the “oh my gosh Lady Gaga is so awesome and queer-friendly I’m gonna listen to all her music!” trap.  I admit it, and now I’m moving on.

After that video I started to catch on to what was being uncovered – the corruption behind her holy charity work for the LGBTQ community.  While 50 cent is claiming that anti-homophobia is his new business plan (link) we can judge him and call his cause insincere, but really he is just being honest about the business plan that many celebrities are and have been using for a long, long time.  Aside from Lady Gaga’s lack of 50-like honesty, I felt that a lot of people had pretty much accepted that she is straight up profiting off queerphobia (see:  There’s was nothing else about it.

But then she released Born This Way.  I knew enough people that acknowledged the ignorance in the song, the racial slurs, the misuse of biological determinism, and the inappropriateness of her privilege and whiteness in the context of such a song (read an analysis here).  But then there were the people that didn’t.

She continually uses and abuses queer people, and after the release of Born This Way it became apparent that people of color were on the list too.  And more specifically about the Bollywood remix, I had heard a while ago, in an interview, that she wanted to go to India (to see her “Little Monsters in India”, ick) to collaborate with artists there.  I thought that was a terrible idea, but I was not prepared for a Bollywood remix of Born This Way.

With that song alone she first targeted queers and then desis, so I feel like she had tried to target me twice through my race and sexuality.  And although she failed twice, I know she succeeded with the majority of my fellow queers and desis.  The truth is that the Mother Monster just doesn’t stop, and neither do her Little Monsters.  She can’t pull the wool over my eyes and I am trying to discourage others from being deceived.  She acts like she is doing it for the fans, but I know she is using our strife and our culture to get ahead.  The more she messes up the more I realize and I will not excuse her.

To point to more recent Gaga news and mishaps, some one recently called out that she had copied a Madonna song.  Gaga got angry in an interview and used the slur “retarded”.  Here is a quote from the Gays Against Gaga tumblr:

Not to add yet another sermon, but it’s getting a little difficult to stay sympathetic to Gaga’s divine cause when she’s casually throwing around words like “retarded”. Last time I checked, the intellectually disabled were born that way, too.

She apologized for the slur, just like endorsing the homophobia of Target… but how many other things is she going to need to apologize for?  Couldn’t she just stop doing them?  Then her to-do list for apologies would get shorter and she could spend that time working on her next costume instead.  Who knows, maybe she’ll incorporate a sari!  Very Madonna-like.  Sigh.

This is the woman that people will continue to justify and idolize, but if we have any concern for those she continually throws under the bus (even when it isn’t us), we will challenge ourselves to think for a second.  Critiquing pop culture does not make it harder to enjoy; it makes it better.  Through critique we can be sure that what we are enjoying is worth enjoying and supporting.  Furthermore, we need to dismantle this culture where our lives and experiences are so easily commoditized and sold back to us.  In that kind of culture we will continue to lose out.

To close, I want to establish that not only am I a Gay Against Gaga but I am, to be exact, a Gaysi Against Gaga.

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Anurag is a queer, feminist, social worker-to-be. Currently residing in the cornfields of Illinois.  Fierce, emotional and reclaiming the brown-ness. 

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