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Lady Gaga: Subversive or Submissive?

milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

Just listened to the great podcast about Lady Gaga, and it was nice cause i've had many discussions with friends about the same topic.  Is Gaga really subversive and positive voice for womens rights and LGBT issues?

 

As a Dj and music fan, i thought i'd comment on this.

 

is Gaga subversive?  Musically, she is about as mainstream as it gets--standard pop-dance music with singable choruses.  I have yet to hear any intelligible, straight forward social/political commentary or challenging of accepted mainstream assumptions from gaga.  

She wholeheartedly accepts (and even promotes) fashionable consumption as one of the greater things in life.  certainly there is nothing subversive about "haute couture" fashion which is something which has been used to separate rich and poor for generations...not to mention reinforcing the notion that our roles as people is primarily that of obedient consumer, more concerned with insanely expensive handbags and sunglasses than whether the kid in the other end of town can even afford to eat.  Yes she embraces sometimes the most odd and unwearable clothing, but it looks more like an attempt to "carve out a niche" with todays fashion-obsessed  youth (her target audience) than being genuinely shocking to mainstream society.

 

She sometimes gets the nod for being LGBT friendly, but it seems again something largely devoted to securing a fanbase.  She flaunts it in her videos , makes the odd statement about being gay-positive in her music and has been accused of being Trans gendered but apparently that's as far as it goes...in her private life she is not actually bisexual.  In other words, she's cashing in on the fact that it's considered "hot" to be a bisexual woman and it sells records.  Katy Perry realized this and that's why she stole the title of Jill Sobule's late 90's song "i kissed a girl" and put it to a more modern beat and made a fortune off it.  Seems gaga is doing the same.  Madonna did it too!

 

On top of that, her music is being distributed by major media conglomorates that happen to to be making a killing selling her to the world and using her to sell toothpaste, financial services, beauty products, cellphones and designer goods...subversive?  i think not.

 

This is after all 2010, and we have had many a really radical female artist come and go.  Put lady gaga in the same class as:

Buffy St. Marie? Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics (probably the best of them all)?  Marva Whitney, Gaye Advert, Poly Styrene, Patti Smith etc...

If that is the case, women have much to fear!


Comments

al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003

...Becky Bondage...

Wendy O. Williams was a hoot on SCTV's "The Fishin' Musician."


E.Tamaran
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Joined: Oct 17 2009

Cartman vs Lady Gaga: "Poker face"

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-DetYirwzI

 

 

By the way, Cartman is way better!


E.Tamaran
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Joined: Oct 17 2009

Christopher Walken vs Lady Gaga: "Poker Face"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJDx3H_hvI8

 

Christopher wins....


Frustrated Mess
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Joined: Feb 23 2005
milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

that chris walken bit is HILARIOUS!!!


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

 

I've seen a couple of Lady Gaga videos, and it seems to me that they are presented as tongue in cheek, all in good fun.    I think there might be those who might think haute coutoure subversive.  Just last week I surfed into a fashion show on t.v., and the models were all wearing "ballet shoes", high heels so extreme they keep a woman on point. (hence the name)  I'm sure there's a feminist interpretation on that which would consider that subverting the drive for equality of women. 

Because I interpret the Lady Gaga as camp, I don't really see the harm.   We can all be a certain persona in the boudoire, (can you check the spelling on that, Bagkitty?) or at a party, etc, but not be that person.   For all we know, Lady Gaga uses her time off to do granny squares or knit mittens, and that's what she likes to do.

I tend to get more disturbed by the constant barage of videos on Mush Music etc, that present an onslaught of "serious" female artists who feel they have to use sex to sell their music.   This sends a disturbing message, in my view.  

 

In my mind, I guess it comes down to who is in control.  In the case of Madonna, or Lady Gaga, I get the impression that they are in control of how they want to do their music and their presentation in videos, etc.   Usually, the music industry tends to shut these kinds of women down and out, so I would guess that they are probably in some ways pretty formidable, independant women, and not "submissive" in the least.   We should pay more attention to budding young female artists who have great talent, but are controlled by the male dominated industry to take dancing lessons at the local strip club as preparation for thier music videos.

 


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Tommy_Paine wrote:
  For all we know, Lady Gaga uses her time off to do granny squares or knit mittens,

If kids these days are into new party drug combinations and sexual positions, I really wish there was a memo about it for the rest of us.


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

 

(chuckles)  Yes, I'm starting to get out of the loop myself in my old age.  I had to look up "teabagging"  a while back, to understand what John Stewart was giggling about on the "Daily Show".

But it puts me in mind of something-- knitted bondage gear.

 

 


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

 

Quote:
knitted bondage gear.

 

 

crocheted, with angora thread.... Cool

 

 

Think her name and its connotations declare what she is about...and tommy gives a fairly good synopsis...


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

[...]

Because I interpret the Lady Gaga as camp, I don't really see the harm.   We can all be a certain persona in the boudoire, (can you check the spelling on that, Bagkitty?) or at a party, etc, but not be that person.   For all we know, Lady Gaga uses her time off to do granny squares or knit mittens, and that's what she likes to do.

[...]

Actually Tommy, it is spelled boudoir.... an "e" at the end is a spelling error, although certainly more fashionable [or did I mean pretentious?].

... and it is just chance that I found your posting, I am NOT stalking through you across the boards to make fun of your spelling!


Papal Bull
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Joined: Oct 7 2004

Maysie wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:
  For all we know, Lady Gaga uses her time off to do granny squares or knit mittens,

If kids these days are into new party drug combinations and sexual positions, I really wish there was a memo about it for the rest of us.

 

I've been knittin' mittens all day. The purple elephunks are chasing the moon in me to a whole new orbit, maaaaaaaaaan.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

I used to think that Madonna's "Just Like a Prayer" video was perhaps the most perfect music video of all time: just the right amount of digestable "controversy" (burning crosses! black jesus!) with a killer non-diegetic song, charged with sexuality and good beats.

I think Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone" video might have topped it. Controversy with a billion hits, crass product placement with glorified perversion. Give me some.


Papal Bull
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Joined: Oct 7 2004

Catchfire wrote:

I used to think that Madonna's "Just Like a Prayer" video was perhaps the most perfect music video of all time: just the right amount of digestable "controversy" (burning crosses! black jesus!) with a killer non-diegetic song, charged with sexuality and good beats.

I think Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone" video might have topped it. Controversy with a billion hits, crass product placement with glorified perversion. Give me some.

 

Also, Dune and Command n' Conquer references. SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT THEM


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

but is it really controversial? dance routines, cliche song, half naked ladies, shameless product placement...looks like your average music video to me.  

Also, i would debate that they have much in the way of creative control.  remember these people are investments, highly managed and instructed by teams of lawyers, management execs and the like.  I don't doubt they let her do what she wants, as long as it fits with their image of what they're trying to sell to the public, and remains highly sexualized like all "good" female superstars do.  

i guess the reason i can't see her as being a "risque" artist is that she doesn't seem to be breaking any new ground and isn't challenging what are already the acceptable norms for people, in her case females in the music world.  

 


Frustrated Mess
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Joined: Feb 23 2005

I think she's more a product than an artist, but that's my two cents.


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001

I'm throwing my two cents in with FM's.

...just so we're half-way to paying what the product is worth.


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

... and it is just chance that I found your posting, I am NOT stalking through you across the boards to make fun of your spelling!

 

Laughing


thorin_bane
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Joined: Jun 19 2004

Rarely do I get critisized for my poor spelling..Wish i could get my spellcheck to work on rabble.


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