Friday, August 14, 2009

Going Gaga?

(Apologies for the title of this post; I couldn't resist.)

A few days ago Feministing called out Lady Gaga for some comments she made in a recent interview. (Disclaimer: I did not watch the interview.) From their transcription:
You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting her 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.

Blogger Vanessa then writes, "Good on Gaga for making a feminist statement, but bad on her for not owning it as one." The way I read this, Vanessa mainly takes issue with Lady Gaga's refusal to identify as a feminist despite making a "feminist statement." To me, the more immediate problem is that Lady Gaga sets up feminism and loving men as mutually exclusive. Her logic would go something like this: Feminists hate men. Therefore, if you like men then you are not a feminist.

But what is more interesting to me than these two issues - not identifying as a feminist and stigmatizing feminists as man-haters - is the first part of the transcript that Feministing quotes. On the face of it, she is pointing out a double standard and advocating equality. I'm all for those things. But what she says reminds me of a quotation from Riot Grrl Queen-mother Kathleen Hanna:
What (some) bands do is go, 'It's not important that I'm a girl, it's just important that I want to rock.' And that's cool. But that's more of an assimilationist thing. It's like the 'just want to be allowed to join the world as it is'; whereas I'm more into revolution and radicalism and changing the whole structure. What I'm into is making the world different for me to live in.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Lady Gaga may be denouncing a societal double standard, but ultimately she is just upholding the status quo.

So rather than post the Lady Gaga interview, here's something a little more radical:

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