Lady Gaga: A True Feminist Icon
Word Count: 1,509
April 21, 2017
Entertainers in today’s zeitgeist have the ability to make art through music, and Lady Gaga is no exception. The beauty is that this art often makes remarks on the times of society—politically, ideologically, and socially. Lady Gaga is an artist who interprets societal ideologies in her music videos through her own eyes, creating a piece of art that is a reflection of feminism in the 2000s-2010s. This is particularly present in Lady Gaga’s music video for Bad Romance (2009). Lady Gaga and director Francis Lawrence use a controversial plot, leading camera angles, lyrics, and eccentric costuming to create a theme in Bad Romance that represents Lady Gaga’s renouncement of some second wave feminist ideals, into a more postfeminist approach.
The beginning of the video starts in a bathhouse, with a number of women crawling out of white pods. Lady Gaga crawls out of a pod as well. The dancers are faceless, dressed similarly, and dance robotically. Their eerie, clone-like similarities are meant to indicate to the audience that these women, including Lady Gaga, are being born as products for consumption. Throughout this scene, there are interjected clips of Lady Gaga looking at herself in a mirror, wearing sunglasses. There are also clips of her in a bathtub and close-ups of her face. These indicate that although she is a clone/product, she has a vulnerable, personal side. While in the bathtub, she is ripped away by two of the unmasked clones and prepared for consumption by the patriarchy—her clothes are torn off and she is given alcohol to sedate her. This scene is suggestive of a kidnapping and is meant to make the audience feel uncomfortable about the violation of Lady Gaga. It is also meant to bring attention to the audience that making one “beautiful” by the media’s standards can be viscous, invasive, and unwanted. We see that the hegemonic, patriarchal society controls and values the appearance of women (O’Shaughnessy, Stadler, and Casey 316).
As the next verse continues, Lady Gaga is thrown into a dance, where she is bid on and bought by a group of men. At first, she covers her private areas and seems reluctant, but then she dances seductively, as she is “meant” to. This performance is reminiscent of a second wave feminist ideal: women are exploited through sex (O’Shaughnessy et al. 316). She gives one of the men a lap dance and she is bought. Once she is meant to bed the man, we see her in lingerie and she lights the bed on fire, engulfing the man. She poses triumphantly amongst the flames. This is indicative of Lady Gaga reclaiming second wave feminism, reclaiming her sexuality, and using it as a weapon against those that oppress her—and the patriarchy in general. The idea that an oppressed group can reclaim their signs of repression and use them as a sign of power and agency is one...