July 30, 2011

Lady Gaga's Extraterrestrial Androgyny

Oh hi there gender blenders,

Let's talk about... LADY GAGA!

Not only is she the coolest extraterrestrial on the block, she plays with androgyny... like... a lot, especially in her videos. We're talking Lady Gaga wearing a tux and skull makeup, Gaga with an androgyne body and zippers in her skin, the monsters/dancers in white coming out of coffins, etc.


Video time!



Yeah okay, let's get the "born this way" thing out of the way. So maybe Lady Gaga isn't so up to date on the whole "eff using the 'born this way' defense to shut up the 'you can choose/change sexuality' blockheads, because sexuality/desire/love is beautiful (you know, between consenting adults) regardless of orientation and gender identity" movement. We shouldn't have to defend the how/why of orientation, because ultimately, it doesn't matter why. It just is. And it is wonderful. But guess what kids? I don't really care that Lady Gaga is still using "born this way." What I do care about is her message--love yourself because you are beautiful in your bones.

Now for the androgyny. We see Gaga's shape slightly neutralized, zippers cutting through all her "bits" making them indeterminate, her neck yoked into a line of inert, doppelganger Gagas. There is also Gaga in a tux with skull makeup. She has a lot of hair in this instance, but she looks like a skeleton wearing a tux, not a woman semi-cross-dressed.  And, shocker, long hair does not have to equal female by any means.

Lady Gaga performs, literally, an uncanny form of androgyny that not only defamiliarizes gender, but also defamiliarizes the body performing gender. We see dreamscape structures--bones written on flesh, zippers suggesting we can look inside of ourselves on a whim--beyond bodily realities, that perhaps destabilize us in a way that expands what we recognize as real-life body and gender experiences. What do you think about Gaga's gender play? Or theatrics in general?

Also see the "Bad Romance" video for the monsters/dancers in white coming out of coffins mentioned earlier.

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