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Lady Gaga: A Role Model?

October 1, 2009

With 4 chart topping hit songs, an undeniably unique sense of fashion, and more TV appearances than you can shake a stick at, musical artist Lady Gaga has become a household name. Some love her, and some hate her, but its impossible to avoid her. Known for her skimpy pants-less outfits and raunchy songs, Lady Gaga is making an impression on the musical industry and the youth. Is it a good thing, or is she promoting what some view to be a bad life style?

Though her songs and music videos usually depict lyrics and images of sex, lust, and risque activities, I don’t believe she is glorifying any of it-in fact, the presence of sex is made so casual that she turns it into what sex has become to much of today’s youth- a natural and common act.

The songs Just Dance and Love Game are both about being young, partying, and engaging in no-strings-attached sex. Some may say that by broadcasting casual sex in such a manner is glorifying it-but I disagree.  A large portion of teens between ages 15 and 20 engage in casual sex, and while many people choose to ignore it or condone it, there are few who give comfort to teens (especially young girls) and educate them on casual sex. Lady Gaga comes forth in her songs and talks about -gasp- actually enjoying sex! Casual sex is something that is simply not going to go away, no matter how much education or punishment is put toward it. Though artists like Kanye West and other rappers talk about having casual sex, it is all from a male point of view, sometimes referring to women in their songs as “easy” or “hoes”. To have a white, young, female artist come forward and say, “I have casual sex, and so do you” is incredibly empowering to today’s female youth, and sends a strong message that they are not alone in their decisions.

Aside from her music, Lady Gaga has been blasted for her fashion choices, being called everything from “eccentric” to “ridiculous” to “slutty”. Her signature look of a leotard, fishnet or opaque stockings, boots, and sunglasses have made many deem her as a hooker-look-alike.  The internet gossips sites were a-buzz when she was seen wearing tape over her nipples under a sheer t-shirt, however fellow singer Rihanna was called fashionable when she did the same. Lady Gaga has said that she embraces her body, and has never had any plastic surgery done to change her features. She’s appeared semi-nude in magazines, however not once has her nudity been the focus of an image.  She wears leotards or bikini bottoms in public and is called “whoreish”, while Beyonce and Britney Spears wear the same, if not raunchier, outfits on stage and no one blinks an eyelash.

So, is Lady Gaga a good role model? My answer is yes. She isn’t posing in playboy like The Hills star Heidi Montag, or wearing booty shorts and pole dancing at age 16 like Miley Cyrus. She isn’t singing about blaming obvious rape on alcohol like artist Jamie Foxx. Lady Gaga hasn’t been seen leaving a night club completely intoxicated, or snorting coke in the back of a bathroom, or committing adultery.

She is writing her own songs, performing her shows, and experimenting with fashion. Last I checked-isn’t that what most parent’s encourage their children to do? Find their own style, work with their talents, and do what they love?

What do you think? Is Lady Gaga a good role model?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. aconfusedpoet permalink
    October 1, 2009 3:54 am

    I completely agree. Role model standards change with every passing year and while she may not be seen as a good role model by most parents, the fact of the matter is her actions and songs bring some extremely worthwhile topics to attention.

    It’s about time someone stepped up and said, “Hey, guess what. People have sex as surely as they pee. There’s no preventing it.” People need to stop being so sensitive over these kinds of things.

  2. October 1, 2009 6:08 pm

    I can’t go gaga for Gaga, I’m afraid. She’s not making a statement, or empowering women, or being a role model for hedonism or anything remotely that noble. She’s just doing what bunches and bunches of young, relatively attractive, relatively talentless female musicians–including Madonna, Britney and Cher–have always done to attract attention from the newest crop of young listeners, sell CDs and make a lot of money: whoring.

    Her perspective will change a lot once age, having kids and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse take their toll on her body (which isn’t all that great to begin with). And it will change radically when she finds a video on the Internet of her future daughter dropping x and having a three-way with her best friend and her boyfriend.

    Then she’ll suddenly get all spiritual and work that angle for everything it’s worth, hire a plastic surgeon to extend her career as a sexy siren, and then slowly fade away, coming out only occasionally to speak up on behalf of animal rights or whatever cause she decides to support. I’ve followed the careers of these young starlets for decades, and, if they’re successful at all (sometimes even sex doesn’t sell), they almost always follow the same pattern. Ultimately, it’s all about money. Everything else is a carefully crafted show staged for gullible kids who don’t know any better until they’ve already bought her albums.

  3. Tegan McRae permalink*
    October 1, 2009 7:31 pm

    Well, as it stands, Gaga is none of that. No plastic surgery, no sex tapes, no nudes, nothing reported has indicated drug use or drinking (she has admitted to it in the past, as in 4 or more years ago). Whether or not she turns into all that in the future is subjectable, because as it stands she is none of that. I refuse to judge a person based on other people in their career.

    Also, I don’t consider selling CD’s to make money whoring…it’s a distribution of music. Just like a painter sells their art, or a dancer does shows, or reporter writes the news.

    • October 2, 2009 1:28 am

      Selling CDs to make money isn’t whoring. Marketing your body to sell CDs to make money is. That’s what I wrote, and I believe it’s true.

      You have to remember that I don’t believe success is a good measure of morality and ethics. Sometimes, it’s exactly the opposite–the nastier you are, the more base you’re willing to be, the better you do financially.

      People tend to forget that most of the stars we see on TV and in magazines have staffs working 24 hours a day to craft an image for the public that will help them succeed. It’s important to remember that to the companies they work for, these stars are very valuable products, just like Coco Puffs and shampoo, even if we like to think otherwise.

      Gaga’s no different, and somebody, probably a group of somebody’s is going to work this angle as long as it sell records. Then, if they think she’s got actual talent, they’ll try something else. If they don’t, you’ll never from her again.

      Gaga may not be a porn star, but in my opinion she’s walking the same moral path as a prostitute (and I used “whoring” in my original comment on purpose to pick a fight because I’m feeling fiesty). It’s a very fine line between appearing topless (essentially) or without pants or posing pretty much nude for Rolling Stone and dancing in a strip club for dollar bills or doling out blowjobs for $50.

      From a marketing standpoint, this careful cultivation of the wild, free spirit image has worked extremely well for countless other female stars over the last three to four decades. People–especially young people who can’t understand the long-term consequences of the decisions they make–like sex a lot (as they should), but they especially like to believe it can be casual and carefree, even when so much evidence screams otherwise. It’s fun to think sex is nothing but fun, and that’s exactly why it works as a marketing tool. And so these starlets always put out the same message that Gaga puts out: that they’re empowering women, they’re shining a light into America’s bedrooms, they’re making it OK to have casual sex, etc. They’ll say whatever they need to say to be successful because fame and fortune is how they measure the worth of their lives (probably not exclusively, but more than most average people).

      Has this approach helped many a starlet break into the stratosphere quickly and stand out from the crowd?

      Sure has.

      Unfortunately, these women start out at one level sexually, but that gets dull to the public pretty quickly, so they ramp it up to the next level and so on until they either wash out because they don’t like being marketed like hookers or they can’t be marketed as sex objects because they get too old and fat. If they’re very lucky and they survive the experience, which often seems to require booze and pills to deal with, they’re able to transition into something more dignified.

      Madonna famously took this path, Miley Cyrus may be taking it (I think it’s too early to tell), and Gaga appears to be doing it, too, based on what little I’ve seen. Is she like all the rest? I don’t know. I don’t know her. But it looks that way to me, and I’m feeling sorry for her in advance. That might be wrong of me, but it’s the way I see it.

      Sorry to leave such a long comment. And I don’t mean to be overly combative. We all believe what we believe, and we have reach those beliefs over time with the information that we personally collect.

  4. Bessasaurus permalink
    October 4, 2009 8:34 am

    All I know is that people are OMG OUTRAGED that their 8 year old children are asking what a discostick is. I say two things to them: 1) They’re EIGHT. LIE to them! and 2) I remember my favorite band as a kid (this was only about 10 years ago) was the Venga boys. Lyrics included “Boom, boom, boom, boom, I want you in my room,” for example. No- one complained. I remember them appearing on a kids program once. The presenter asked “So, why are you called the Vega Boys? Some of you are girls.” And they replied that the two girls were actually secretly boys. And no one really cared!

  5. Judy Galbraith permalink
    October 6, 2009 2:04 am

    Your perspective is refreshing and unexpected as usual!

  6. October 7, 2009 9:59 pm

    Excellent commentary… I am unfamiliar with Lady Gaga, but this editorial makes me want to listen to what she has to say, both musically and publicly.

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