And, of course, Madonna.
She could also be compared to a few male artists, too. Prince, David Bowie, Michael Jackson (R.I.P.). For the pop aficionados who enjoy the more esoteric tones of pop: there are the experimental bands: The Flying Lizards and The Human League (Sasha Frere Jones makes note in his article, Ladies Wild, from the April 27, 2009 New Yorker issue). Really, all this is to say Lady Gaga is NOT original. She is merely benefitting from all the trailblazing done by the artists above. And, maybe will be the beneficiary of a societal change of opinion on female artists who exist NOT to seduce you. The you being most often identified as an immature male with arrested development. You know them.
I tried to ignore Gaga thinking she was becoming another Britney Spears and only started to care – reluctantly – when she started getting bad-mouthed about her sexuality and sexual orientation. Some say she’s bisexual. Some say she’s androgynous. Some say she’s an IT. Some say she’s trans. But, really who cares? Do you like her music? Do you like her image? Do you like what she stands for? Is she entertaining? That’s what matters.
Besides, her sexuality and sexual orientation are her business. Not ours. Granted, she is exploiting it and it is part of her image, but it’s funny how sexuality is never part of the discussion for male musicians. The Princes, the David Bowies are just outlandish. Entertainers. They’re supposed to get you to look and notice. Well, that’s not completely true – they’re masculinity is assaulted.
What is cool about her is that she says, “she’s lost her mind” (see New York Magazine’s March 29, 2009 issue to read article “125 Minutes with Lady Gaga) but she’s not The Collapsible Woman (See Bitchfest, Bitch Magazine’s compilation of awesome essays). She is not even close to the frail simpering romanticized crazy lady that is so pervasive in movies (The Hours) and books. She’s not sexy (in the mainstream Beyonce kind of way). But, she’s exciting and provocative. She is wholly in control of her image. She embraces “the ugly.” She’s blonde – a woman everyone expects much from. She is a subject and an object of her sexuality – much like Madonna which is why men don’t really like either of them. They’re threatening. Probably, why they get bashed a lot. And, then there are the “slurs” – the ambiguity of her sexuality. She does not fit neatly into the heterosexual cis-gendered female box. She does not exist for you. She exists for herself.
She’s also awesome because she’s a good Catholic girl like me . . . and crazy like one, too. 😉