Not a feminist

So here it is, little monsters:

It’s my jam! I will grant you I didn’t like this one as much as “Bad Romance”, but hell, maybe that’s because I could relate to “Bad Romance” much more on a personal level.  Sad, but true.  But I’m not going to lie, I’m a little dissapointed.

Because I like the Bad Romance video; the little tiny bit of it that’s not a song is just some visual set-up and harpsichord music.  This one has like three minutes of intro, and keeps interrupting the song with plot.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally down with the fact that there’s an elaborate dance sequence where she makes a sandwich, but the song is divvied up into chunks to make it long and plot-driven.  I didn’t really like it when Michael Jackson did it, and I don’t jive to it here.  Besides, at least Michael Jackson turned into a werewolf.  Here it’s just Gaga and Beyonce making homoerotic come-ons to each other.

But here’s the thing I’ve noticed; this is like the third video in a row where she kills a man.

Seriously.

See, with “Poker Face” she didn’t kill anyone.  Just danced, played some cards, had some dogs.  But then came “Paparazzi”.

After a long-ass intro, he inexplicably tries to kill her.  She stays with him but then poisons him.

I’m also still trying to figure out what she’s getting at by having all-black dancing manservants.  Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.  But seriously, they’re all black. WTF?

Then there’s “Bad Romance”:

She gets her innocence or something ripped away by a bunch of models, then gets sold off to the highest bidder. She then immolates him.

I recalled her once saying something to the tune that she’s not a feminist.  I found this online, from a Norwegian journalist:

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, 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.

Are you also a feminist?

I’m not a feminist – I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars…

Homosaywhaaa?  From where I stand, it looks to me more like you obsess over men, accept abuse by them, and then think violent thoughts about them when things don’t go your way.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she’s tough to even be in the position she’s in, and carrying herself as business-smartly as she seems to be, but love men?  Maybe on some level, but it seems more to me that she has a fucked up relationship with men.  Like her idea of female empowerment is taking violent revenge on them. Since feminism by definition is about seeking equality between the sexes, yeah, I guess she’s right, she ain’t no feminist.

I’m sure she knows this; she went to NYU, one of the most liberal artsy-fartsy schools in America, and even if she wasn’t in one of the liberal arts programs I’m sure she got at least a small earful on feminist theory, so she has to know a little bit more about it than the typical kneejerk “feminists are unattractive embittered man-haters who don’t shave their legs”.  Come on, guys. Finding a way to empower women and respecting men are not mutually exclusive concepts (though then again I have been surrounded by a bunch of pole dancers talking about eroticism and empowerment lately, so I might be a bit biased.) My point is, if gender equality and female empowerment aren’t on your agenda, that’s fine.  But let’s at least be honest with ourselves, Stefani Germanotta, you don’t have the best relationship with men, either.  Maybe you don’t celebrate “American female” culture, but at least you don’t kill women!

My point, concisely; don’t diss words like “feminist” just because they have icky connotations when you clearly like the idea of (what you consider) female empowerment, and also, you kill men in your videos or objectify them sexually.

Just imagine if a male rock star/pop star killed women in each of his videos.  Talk about fall-out!

That said, I still love the Gaga and sing her at karaoke every time I go.  Just, ya know, I calls it like I sees it.

She went to NYU around the same time I did, and though some of my friends of friends knew her, I wasn’t at the performance side of Tisch and didn’t really talk to people there anyway, so I didn’t.  That said, here’s something from her NYU days, which shows what we all might have suspected but never believed: She’s not a natural blonde!

  • I love Gaga’s music, but I’m not sure how to reconcile quotes like this:

    “[The album cover] was an issue at my record label. I fought for months, and I cried at meetings…The last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself.”

    with everything else she does. Not saying, of course, that she needs to cover herself up, but she says things like that about being conscious of the media pressures on women, yet she still holds that backwards view of what being a feminist means. She’s very contradictory, that Gaga.

    As much as it pains me to dislike anything containing the Pussy Wagon, I just didn’t like the Telephone video. It didn’t match the song at all, Beyonce felt out of place and, to be totally shallow, I really hated Gaga’s hair.

    • Mr. Minah Bird

      I think that’s one of the most interesting things, that there really is a lot more behind the “at the club drinkin” thing, something the she hasn’t really shown in her music…. except for in ‘So Happy I Could Die’- one of my favorites off The Fame Monster- when you listen to the lyrics closely, it makes the song much deeper than just a club dance song (which Telephone pretty much only is). It really portrays that conflictedness that Gaga seems to have… I imagine this is the woman performing ‘So Happy I Could Die’: http://static.gigwise.com/gallery/5748240_LadyGaga–7.jpg but this is the woman who wrote it: http://popbytes.com/img/LADY-GAGA-THE-FAME-MONSTER.jpg

      And you hated her hair in the Telephone video? REALLY? I thought it was great. Her hairstyles during this current Fame Monster period are much much better than her hairstyles during ‘The Fame’ period. Maybe I like them because they’re less elaborate and look less… tacky, or fake, or whatever- as her older ones. I still say she needs to go Au Naturel hair-wise at some point- which I’m sure she will, if she has a ‘Like A Prayer’ period… which god I hope she does since Like A Prayer is one of my top 5 favorite albums…. EVER.

      Unrelated to this reply: I just realized… the jail she goes to? It must be where all the Joan Jett wannabes and Lesbian bikers (same thing?) from the 80s went once the decade ended. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that judging by the end of the Telephone video, Alejandro will be the final installment in this femme fatale trilogy- I mean, they did say Alejandro would most likely be the next single + music video, and it did look like they were probably heading to Mexico at the end… ok, done being all long winded.

      • This reply is SUPER late, but I hate the fake yellow of her hair, not the style.

  • Mr. Minah Bird

    Let me start off by saying this, I couldn’t be more happy that you are (as Gaga herself would say) a ‘Little Monster’ like myself. Its great to hear Lady Gaga in your videos on TGWTG, and to read stuff like this.

    Anyway, as for ‘Telephone’ itself- its not one of my favorite tracks off of The Fame Monster, to be honest. I dunno if its too fast pace or something, but its just not my thing… I do like it a lot… just not love like some of the other songs on the record. Plus I’m not particularly fond of the lyrics. But oh well. Now, when talking about the video itself- I’ll admit… I may have been a bit disappointed- but that’s because I was expecting something more like the Bad Romance video (my favorite music video from her…. god damn is that video great, one of the best ever made. Yes, I said it.), not what we ended up getting. But I’m pretty sure after watching it some more, I’ll grow to love it. And I must say, as a Tarantino fanboy (sidenote: I think he writes the best female characters in film. And maybe he should direct a video for Gaga? Maybe not, the universe might collapse in on itself if an awesome as fuck pop culture clash of epic proportions such as that were to occur) I did love all the references and the overall style of it all… Jonas Åkerlund is awesome, and really should try to direct a full movie. Although, Gaga’s acting was… iffy, at best. Hopefully if she decides to act in film, she’ll take some damn good lessons- lest we get movies along the line of ‘Shanghai Surprise’, ‘Who’s That Girl’, ‘Body of Evidence’, and…. ughhh… ‘Swept Away’. Ok, now I’m just babbling… sorry.

    About the femme fatale thing she has going on: I don’t think you should look TOO far into it. After all, it is just a character she made in the Paparazzi video. And the character itself kills for fame, really, not because she hates these men. And as we all know, the fame thing leads back to the themes of these first two albums, which itself leads back to Gaga herself saying she was ‘practically a monster’ at how much she wanted fame… to be recognized. Which she is, now. And she seems very grateful for it. Besides, if Gaga truly is the ‘new Madonna’ or ‘new David Bowie’ (or rather, simply, her own person, though still somewhat of a chameleon like the aforementioned musicians) she’ll be changing her look drastically come next year, and the whole femme fatale thing will probably be tossed out the window. However, I do agree she seems like somebody that could be easily ‘used and abused’- both literally (she’s only 5’1″, supposedly) and figuratively. God knows we don’t want the Lady Gaga version of ‘The Poison Penns’.

    So, with all that out of the way, I gotta say…. I’m not too upset that Gaga isn’t really much of a feminist, nor surprised. I don’t mean because of her lyrics, but just the way she presents herself in general…. its very much like how Madonna presented herself in the 80s. She wasn’t really a ‘feminist’, but simply a woman who knew she had control of her body and her mind/creativity, and will stand up to anybody… not just men. Madonna herself said she was “Not a feminist. [but] a humanist”. I think Gaga is the same. Besides, be happy she isn’t like Ayumi Hamaski: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ayumi_Hamasaki#Sourced

    Oh dear god…. I’m so sorry. This is longer than your freaking post. My babbling… it is being destroying my lifes!

  • Vic

    I recently came to terms with my Lady Gaga addiction. I thought I might lose feminist cred after admitting such. I find it hard to believe she’s not a feminist but at the same time I find it hard to believe she IS a feminist. At least she’s for gay rights. :

  • Endless_Nameless

    I did not know Lindsay was a fan of Lady Gaga. She is very talented, and I am amazed about how she managed to be successful talking about how successful she is.

    I think some people give her too much credit. She knows how to write music, how to sing, how to look, how to perform, and i think she has great thoughts about the music industry and fame itself (and manage this analysis to get something from it).

    But maybe it ends there. She is our age, and, even supposing that she has strong thoughts about feminism, she is not someone who seems to care about this, or read about it, or think about it during her work. Maybe with time she will think more about this. Maybe not.

    But I love her looks:
    http://poorlydressed.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/gaga4.jpg?w=500&h=308

  • Endless_Nameless

    I forgot to add: have you ever wanted a Lady Gaga glasses? Well, this lady tried to make one:

    http://querorir.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ladygaga.jpg

    It is written “the glasses are the same as lady Gaga”

    And I would love to see Lindsay singing a song from her!

  • Wow. Where do I start? I’ll admit that, while I have heard the name Lady Gaga before, I had not listened to any of her music until I read this post. I usually stick to prog rock, metal, blue grass type music, and it has been ages since I’ve seen a music video without any vikings in it. But wow, color me unimpressed. I’ll admit that she is a talented singer, but that doesn’t seem to be the focus of any of her videos. Her music is very simple, repetitive and really can’t compete with the visual assault of her insane (sometimes good, sometimes bad) costume designs and the mountains of product placement. Sitting through that Telephone video was like watching a nine minute commercial. I can understand why she doesn’t just sing and play piano anymore. There is no way she can do that and shill laptops, cell phones, cameras, and Wonder bread.
    Maybe I’m just a hater, but she seems very flavor of the moment to me. It is strange that she does have a tendency to murder people in her little melodramas and get away with it. That definitely doesn’t make her characters very likable. Nothing I’ve seen here makes me want to seek out any more of her work.

    • Mr. Minah Bird

      Ok, I’m really starting to seem like a fanboy, but whatever. I need to reply to this.

      Now i know this will sound as pretentious as it gets, but being somebody who is very much into prog, and metal and such (I’m definitely a metalhead myself at times, gimme Gothic, Folk, Viking, Doom, Stoner, Oriental, etc. or any combination of those and I’m content. I also like Prog Metal… not really Prog Rock, ironically.) I cant really expect you to enjoy much pop… a lot of people seem to think just because a song is simple sounding, and simple to play, means its hard to write. But that’s far from the truth. Rock and Metal songs are a lot easier to write because they don’t have much discipline, or a concrete strict structure- therefore they’re harder to play due to more changes. With pop you have to be as strict as can be when coming up with a hook and bridge and such, but as a result the strictness and simplicity make it easy to play. Lady Gaga is about as good as you get when writing pop songs

      As for the product placement, I’ll agree it is obnoxious at times, but it doesn’t occur in any of her other music videos. And she does need a sponsor if she’s going to make these great music videos. (If you’re a metal fan, you know the dreaded world of heavy metal music videos… I would hope you can at least admit Gaga is quite brilliant with her videos)

      And lastly, about the ‘flavor of the moment’ thing- I don’t think she would be as popular as she is if she was just the ‘flavor of the moment’. Lets take a look here:

      (all Billboard No. 1 hits from last year and this year) Youtube views:

      Beyonce – Single Ladies: 83.8 Million views.

      My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson: 18 million views.

      Right Round – Flo Rida: 4.5 Million views

      Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas: 49 Million views

      I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas: 12.8 Million

      Empire State of Mind – Jay Z + Alicia Keys: 30.5 million views.

      Tik Tok – Ke$ha: 54.9 million views

      Now, Bad Romance, on the other hand, didn’t even reach No. 1 here in America- thanks to that utter shite Tik Tok, however, out of the 27 international charts wikipedia lists, Bad Romance reached No. 1 in 18 of them. No. 2 in 6 of them, and No. 4, 7, and 9 in the other three. Oh yeah, and:

      Bad Romance – Lady Gaga: 148.8 Million views on youtube. Just Dance also has 101.6. After being up for only 4 days, Telephone already has 14.8 million views, and is receiving comments every few seconds or so.

      She’s the real deal. I can guarantee it…. of course, she still needs to firmly cement her status as pop superstar, which I’m sure she’ll do next year with a new look.

      I cant expect you to love her, she’s gonna have her haters…. and a lot of them. Plenty of outrage and whatnot I’m sure, and that just means she’s a true superstar.

      OK… fuck, sorry about that. I promise that’s the last time I comment… oh who am I kidding! I know I’ll be commenting here again with these overblown semi-rants, sorry :S.

      • …and counter-argument in 3, 2, 1…

        Alright, I’m not a hater. It’s not like hearing one of Lady GaGa’s songs in Wal-Mart’s electronic dept. is going to put me in a blood rage. From the early NYU video, it’s obvious that she is a talented musician. I just don’t understand why her current products are anything over which to get excited, and yes, I’m calling her music a product, because that’s what it is. I don’t blame her for sing-talking over some dance beats and making some lame videos to go with them. If a record company paid me millions of dollars to do just that, I would in a heart beat. I’d be auto-tuning all the way to the bank. She’s a smart girl and a savvy business woman, but she is not an artist.
        As Mr. Bird said, and I paraphrase, she writes her songs within the confines of a very strict pop-song formula. Every rhythm, bridge, and hook must be calculated down the last toe-tapping detail so that it’s predictable and familiar, otherwise, drunk people wouldn’t be able to dance to it. An artist, on the other hand, would break out of such a restrictive mold and take risks. Song writing as a medium already exists with such a concrete set of rules and theory that I don’t see why any musician would want to bind his or her hands even further by sticking to some preconceived pop song cookie-cutter. And I’m sorry, Mr. Bird, but you can’t sit there with a straight face and tell me that it’s harder to stick to familiar concepts instead of experiment with new ideas and expect me to take you seriously. It takes BALLS to be an innovator.
        As for the product placement not occurring in any of her videos aside from ‘Telephone’ I have to ask, Mr. Bird, did you even watch the ‘Bad Romance’ video? Let’s see, Parrot brand speakers, HP laptops, Safari sunglasses, and I almost didn’t notice the 80,000 shots of Nemiroff Vodka the first time I watched the video. Our enterprising vixen can even be seen wearing her own brand of headphones in the tub. (Lady GaGa ControlTalk Beats, available at her official website for $129.95) And no, her videos are not “quite brilliant.” Music videos of people dancing in white rooms have only been around for, what, two decades? The micro-movie video has been around for almost as long, so what is she doing with any of her work that’s new and exciting, kissing other ladies on the mouth? I hate to say it, but even lesbian tongue-wrestling is old-hat at this point. In regards to her YouTube views, all anyone can determine from those is that she is about three times more culturally relevant than a sneezing panda. (55 million views)
        All I’m saying is that right now, sure, she’s big stuff, and I’m happy for her. She living the American dream, and I hope she makes billions of dollars off of people with nothing better to do with their money. But five years from now, if she’s still on TV, she’ll be in a VH1 reality show.

      • Note-

        When I say BALLS, I, of course, mean metaphorical, gender-neutral, courage balls. Moxy might be a more appropriate term. I am NOT implying that Lady GaGa can’t be an innovator because she is female. That would be silly.

  • I gave in recently and bought The Fame Monster a few months ago when it was released, coupled with The Fame because, well, I thought it’d be a better buy. And boy, is there a difference obviously between listening to her and watching her. Considering her debut came out in late October 2008, already some of the songs on it sound a bit dated. But I can see why they are popular. Somehow she laid the template down for ear candy so that, by the time the videos are out or the live performance, the eye candy she produces goes down just as smooth, no matter if it’s a different flavor than the song.

    That probably didn’t make sense, so I’ll boil it down to this: this woman knows what she’s doing right now. And she’s doing it well. She could very well be the first artist to have her first six songs go to #1 on pop/CHR (contemporary hit radio) stations. She gets people talking about her, even if they have never heard even one note of their songs (i.e., grandparents). She’s inspired her die-hard fans to dress up outrageously at her shows – and you’ll likely see more of them when her tour hits America this summer – like Ms. Ciccone from Bay City, MI, did when I was younger. Hell, Gaga even looked like Madonna in her “Desperately Seeking Susan” days in the “Telephone” clip when she was on the jail phone! And on the recent EP, she’s showing a little bit of growth and variety.

    The real test for Gaga in my eyes will be when he starts writing more about herself and her inside world than about the outside. She’s got The Fame and everything with it; now let’s see how she handles it. If she can, there will be no doubt.

    BTW, if Wonder Bread sales do not soar through the roof in the next few weeks, she did not do her job. And I may buy Roman Meal in protest. (or should that be Roma-ma Meal?)

  • KL

    Lady Gaga made this statement, “I’m not a feminist – I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars…” when she was just at the peak of her popularity in the music industry (around the summer of 2009)

    Since then, Lady GaGa has mentioned that she is a feminist and here is the first article she started trying out the term. It was first publicized here:

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/019317.html

    and has been continued to be praised by the Feministing Blog I follow here: http://www.feministing.com/archives/019707.html

    Sometimes, public figures don’t want to come out and admit they are certain things (whether it’s being gay, a republican/democrat or a feminist) because they might worry it will destroy their career.

    Thankfully, she has taken a step forward and come out and said that she is a feminist, that she is taking a stand of HIV/AIDS awareness for women and promoting safe sex.

    • Endless_Nameless

      “Thankfully, she has taken a step forward and come out and said that she is a feminist, that she is taking a stand of HIV/AIDS awareness for women and promoting safe sex.”

      Yeah, because everybody got AIDS and sh*t.

  • Nina

    Hey Lindsay,
    Just stumbled across your blog (LOVE Nostalgia Chick!), and I’m so happy that you like GaGa.

    Just wanted to drop off this little linkie on her. Thought readers might like it. http://ladygaga.nu/gallery/displayimage.php?album=401&pos=0

  • KTG

    Hey There! I just discovered your hilarious movie reviews from the SmartBitches blog, and I’m hooked. I’ve spent most of my morning watching and laughing, while trying not to snort coffee up my nose. Teen Witch! Labyrinth! Titanic! And my personal favorite: Showgirls!

    Having grown up in the 80’s and experienced these movies and thoughts myself I have to applaud you. Thank you for putting out there what so many of us are thinking and being brutally honest, while still being funny and real.

    I know you probably get suggestions for your next review all the time, but I have to put this out there.

    Patrick Swayze!

    Yes! You can hit the tri-fecta of awful with Dirty Dancing (come on! the awkward watermelon carrying, the bad dialogue, and the hip thrusting! I can’t be the only one who watched it as only an impressionable 13 year old girl can…), Road House (the worst movie ever made), and Ghost (the tropes! Demi Moore! Awkward possession sexuality!).

    It would be a great way to honor the loss of our mulleted, bedroom eyed hero.

    Anyways. Love your vids. Keep up the wonderful work.

    Thanks,
    Kathryn

  • D.T.

    Heylo Linds!

    Been drinking, and after stumbling unto your blog from (obviously) TGWTG’s website, I’ve read every post.

    Not only have I enjoyed your well thought out writing, I find myself not only entertained but extremely thought provoking.

    So hat’s off to you, ma’am.

  • I hope you don’t mind praise from an arch-reactionary.

    I’ve been a fan of TWGTG for well over a year, and I’ve enjoyed your videos as well. Doug’s videos make me laugh – yours make me think (and laugh also).

    Your latest video and your commentary here about feminism are interesting to me. I have noticed that as a conservative critic of culture, I often find myself agreeing with feminists on a number of issues. I used to consider them rivals, but I think I am coming to understand that in today’s climate, there may be more points of agreement than either side typically realizes, at least on the popular culture front.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  • Lindsay –
    First off, love the videos and posts – keep ’em comin’! Your last few NC commentaries have got me thinking and so I pose this conundrum to both you and the readers of your site here. But first, let me don my ‘flame’ retardant suit.. ::shuffleshuffle::

    OK. So! Does it ever bother you that the ideals of feminism (or at least pop feminism) are for women to take on more masculine qualities? Is it really any better to deem a woman ‘powerful’ for being ambitious, aggressive and competitive – normally considered “masculine” qualities – than to say that she isn’t ‘powerful’ for NOT displaying said traits? It seems to tip the balance in favor of men either way. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that a woman’s place is in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant (and if you ever met MY wife, I wouldn’t even have to make that statement!) but it strikes me as sad that “feminine” qualities – discretion, charm, compromise and a nurturing instinct (among others) – aren’t really held up as ‘powerful’for either biological gender. In other words, has an important balance been lost by forcing Cinderella to become her own prince?

  • ehh, old blog is old, but I figured this was worth a mention– as a fellow Gaga fan myself, recent interviews seem to point toward her reevaluating her views (i.e. actually doing some research) and openly proclaiming to be a feminist.

    There’s this rather personal one she shared in London (found here: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article7129672.ece — it’s pretty funny, too. but this bit in particular:

    [[ “Do you know what that girl at the bar said to me?” she says, sipping her Scotch, and taking a single drag off a fag before handing it back. “She said, ‘You’re a feminist. People think it means man-hating, but it doesn’t.’ Isn’t that funny?”

    Earlier in the day, conversation had turned to whether Gaga would describe herself as feminist or not. As the very best conversations about feminism often will, it had segued from robust declarations of emancipation and sisterhood (“I am a feminist because I believe in women’s rights, and protecting who we are, down to the core”) to musing on who she fancied. (“In the video to Telephone, the girl I kiss, Heather, lives as a man. And as someone who does like women, something about a more masculine woman makes me feel more… feminine. When we kissed, I got that fuzzy butterfly feeling.”)

    We had concluded that it was odd most women “shy away” from declaring themselves feminists, because “it really doesn’t mean ‘man-hating’ ”. ]]

    not to mention her recent (though awkward) stint on Larry King pretty much has her stating the same thing, perhaps a little more eloquently:

    Sorry if my comment’s all over the place BTW.. I’m only eighteen and just starting college, rofl. I just thought it might relieve you a little to see that she’s changed her mind about things and probably understands now that it’s -not- a dirty word.

  • You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.

  • This has definitely sparked up an idea in my mind. This can be a amazing website article.

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