Lady Gaga: It isn’t girl power to dress in dead animals
Here is a feisty lady, as notorious for her outrageous style and outré pop hits as she is for her embodiment of girl power. From one shocking outfit to the next, Lady Gaga is a freak Queen who is never afraid of taking style risks and making provocative fashion statements. Love her or hate her there can be no denying she is a style icon of the ultra eccentric planet called pop.
Now I’m all for strong, out spoken women and I admire Lady Gaga for her wacky individualism but we need to recognise that it is these popstars, footballers and celebrities who are shaping today’s younger generations. Millions of young girls across the world look up to Lady Gaga as their role model, they mimic her behavior, emulate her dress sense and follow her lead in all aspects of their lives. Upon Lady Gaga’s crazy hats, outlandish frocks and forthright tongue we pin the future of our youth.
With 5 Grammy awards under her flamboyant belt, Lady Gaga is ranked the world’s fourth greatest woman in music. No wonder then that she was named one of most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
To celebrate her sweeping influence Lady Gaga set up the ‘Born This Way’ Foundation to focus on youth empowerment and self confidence. It strives to nurture young women with the inner strength to stand up for what they believe in and speak up for themselves amid the challenges and forces of society. Who am I to quibble?
I don’t. While I am among the first to respect her efforts here is the bit I find disturbing. When she appears adorned in an entire outfit made out of raw meat, as she did at the 2010 MTV awards, or trails fur coats she is giving out the message that actually, far from self acceptance, she is not comfortable in her own skin. Instead of being a blazing ambassador for girl power she is reinforcing the stereotype that there is indeed a very fine format of what it means to be a woman today and that is one that depends on the clothes we wear and gaining fame at any cost. As an inspiration for future generations she has let them down badly.
“You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance” she defends. Well actually, I see a story of horrific suffering and unimaginable animal cruelty; the pitiable remains of a creature that once lived and breathed trapped in a filthy cramped cage until it was electrocuted, poisoned, gassed or clubbed over and over again on its head and all for a fashion aficionado to parade around in.
Is it just slapdash vogue or genuine cruelty? Well, despite repeated changes in her own moral code and impulsive twists of principal she insists she cares deeply about her fans’ feelings, yet spares no feelings or sympathy for the butchered animals. “This does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won’t bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat,” she has no qualms in living by her capricious materialistic whims under the rule of a turbulent fashion dictator. “But am not a strict vegan” she adds, as if we were in any doubt.
There is also no doubt about the contradictory messages she is exuding to her young impressionable fan base. For all her showy bravado and fiercely self confident persona here is someone so unhappy in her own skin, so unsure of her own values that she has to embellish herself with animals that have been tortured and killed in order to win global affirmation and make herself feel good. And again, such an insensitive defence: ‘I have no chains about this.’ Evidently not, as once again she chooses a garment that has caused an animal a lifetime of suffering and a cruel and painful death.
What worries me is that Lady Gaga’s supreme talent for hogging the headlines despite of or even because of the dead animals she is draped in, will signal to girls that it is ok to let an animal die for their vanity. This dismays me on two counts. First, I fear that the many young women who do look up to her, will wrongly interpret flaunting dead animals and all the suffering that comes with it as part of every modern girl’s right of self autonomy. Second, I worry that far from displaying an image of empowerment and assertiveness it advocates actions that abuse and violate a position of superiority and responsibility.
In this consumer crazy world our gullible young kids are constantly shown that being successful sanctions violent exploitation of the weak and defenseless. Unfortunately, every time an iconic figure like Lady Gaga dominates the spotlight and parades a parody of oppression, it is absorbed by the next generation of followers as customary.
I appeal to Lady Gaga not to overlook just how much the young look up to her and to think about the profound signals she is giving them. If she is genuine in furthering the ethos of girl power she needs to be a consistent paradigm through and through. The ironic truth is, no matter how rebellious and unconventional her style, she now carries a lot of conformist entrapments, and every time she makes headline news clad in a corpse, we are reminded of someone who believes it is ok to imprison, torture, maim and kill other living creatures for our vanity, our greed, our emptiness, our arrogance or for an art piece of coat. All a bit rich coming from someone who insists she does not support violent, abusive and childish campaigns.Tagged in: fur, Lady Gaga, pop
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