Gaga Needs to Sit Down

I’m gonna preface this blog by saying that Lady Gaga is not really my cup of tea. She cuts and pastes elements from people that have been more innovative and creative than her to make a boring pastiche of average. And that’s just the most superficial of her problems. Anyway, here’s her new video. It’s pretty dull.

So, whilst attempting some sort of Grace Jones/Madonna crossover Gaga actually utters the words “Pop culture was in art, now art is pop culture in me” which is one of the more self-indulgent things I’ve heard recently. But this is just me taking pot shots. My real problem is with her leaked song, which is either titled Burqa or Aura, depending on who you ask. Here is what that sounds like:

Ignoring her attempts to make herself more interesting by trying to sound like a blend of David Bowie, Nico, Grace Jones and that weird hard house you find at raves that you’re not sure how you ended up at because you’ve been blacked out for the past 4 hours, my main problem with this is the phenomenal shitshow that passes for lyrical content. I’m not just talking about the chant of “Dance, Sex, Art, Pop” either, although I too can chant words through autotune as though they have great meaning. At the moment I’m leaning towards “Cry, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” for my next single. The choice lines that have irritated me are:

I’m not a wandering slave, I am a woman of choice
My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face
You watch, you fancy me cause there’s always one man to love
But in the bedroom the size of them’s more than enough

Do you wanna see me naked, lover?
Do you wanna peek underneath the cover?

and

Enigma popstar is fun, she wear burqa for fashion
It’s not a statement as much as just a move of passion
I may not walk on your street or shoot a gun on your soil
I hear you screaming, is it because of pleasure or toil?

It’s not the first time Gaga has dabbled with appropriating the burqa. In late, 2012 she wore not one but two incarnations of the burqa to a Philip Treacy show at London Fashion week, the worst of which was probably this hot pink sheer monstrosity (which has, conincidentally, been the image linked to the leaked track on many a music blog):

….No.

And with these new lyrics, she’s taken it to a fun new level. [Dudebro voice: But Alex, like…what’s problem or whatever?] I’ll tell you what the problem is, friend. Take a seat and I’ll tell you in great detail…or maybe like a little bit of detail before I get bored and link you to an article written by someone more articulate than I. Anyway…

You may have noticed that in recent years (or not-so-recent, I guess, depending on your perspective) there has been a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment in the Western world. A culture of fear has been perpetuated, to the point that just kind of vaguely looking a bit brown is enough reason to be shot multliple times – see: the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot 8 times by British anti-terror forces, ostensibly because he wasn’t white and happened to be near the site of a terrorist attack, and that’s just one example I can name off the top of my head. In a political climate where that kind of thing can happen and you will still get a significant chunk of the population going “Ah yes, but he looked like a threat and he was near the site of the bombing so I can see where the police are coming from”, perfectly normal, happy people exercising their religious freedom become walking targets.

In the case of Muslim women, the wearing of the burqa has come to be associated with total oppression. Which is obviously bullshit. I don’t feel like I should have to go into why that’s bullshit, so I’m just going to link you to this blog: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things. It’s obviously not all about Muslim women, but you get the gist. Muslim women are not tragic, oppressed figures in dire need of assistance from an all-knowing white, Western saviour. They get shit done.

However, Lady Gaga (ever the innovator) has taken the other really gross path that people sometimes go down. The lyrics are disgusting fetishising, sexualised bullshit. She’s turned the burqa into a fashion object – she literally says it’s a fun, enigmatic fashion object – and then made it some sort of alluring, mysterious role-play with a lover who eventually gets to see what’s underneath. Projecting sexual imagery onto someone else’s religious attire is offensive and disrespectful. In a climate where religious dress and the wearing of the burqa is demonised, it becomes even more important to listen to Muslim women’s voices, hear their opinions and respect their agency. Instead Gaga has steam rolled over intersting, valid and insightful commentary from Muslim women in favour of making some flippant sexual remarks about peeking underneath covers.

Speaking of interesting and insightful commentary from Muslim women… I am not a Muslim woman. So, now comes the time when I suggest some further reading for you:

If I wear a burqa, nijab.. or hell even a fucking hijab, I’m a stupid, brown savage who has no capacity to think for herself. But when Gaga wears it, its revolutionary and fashionable. People love to scream equality and colorblindedness when such an event arises, but such a world is completely theoretical until we fix these the caricatured perceptions about Islam. The power dynamics here cannot be ignored. – From this post from Tumblr user maarnayeri

Or perhaps this article, which has a slightly different point of view. There’s a plethora of voices out there. It’s getting late. I’m getting lazy. I have expended all my energy being mad. Google it, folks. I’m going to bed.

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7 thoughts on “Gaga Needs to Sit Down

  1. Gaga did a “fashion” spread in a mag recently (Harper’s or Glamour, who knows) and it was touted as high fashion and finally something serious from LGag…but she did nothing in the spread.

    Served up the same old face in the same old pose.

    Tyra would have asked her, “where’s the growth from week to week? You’re supposed to be growing and we see the same pose week/year after year.”

  2. I like to try and understand everybody’s personal opinions. But sometimes I wonder if people who hate certain popstars purposely go out of their way to voice their opinion on something they claim they want no part of because they dislike it. Yeah you don’t like her I get it. Maybe I’m too nice, or maybe I don’t consider myself as self-entitled to sharing my unpopular bitter opinions, but seriously lol. She’s an artist, and literally nobody else in the world sees what she envisions in her art… Not saying that it’s in poor taste but come on. She’s not running an anti-muslim agenda lmfao, chill.

    • You caught me! I’m a total egomaniac! That’s why I have this blog! But putting my rampant narcissism aside for one moment, I don’t think I accused Gaga of running an anti-Muslim agenda. I think Gaga very much has her own agenda that she’s pushing onto people she deems to be oppressed regardless of how offensive they may find it and regardless of whether they want her special brand of “help” or not. I think I covered why I think that’s detrimental above. But again… I would recommend reading the articles linked at the bottom of the blog.

  3. It is funny how some celebrities do not change or just continue to keep doing what they are doing. In my opinion celebrities, whether they asked for it, want it or not, do have to take responsibility and act like role models. That is the price I believe you pay when you have a fan base of millions of people of different diversities looking up to you. I know Lady GaGa has actually been a great role model to many fans. Celebreties like Lady GaGa are not only judged by their magazine spreads, music performances and latest craziest outfits but now they are judged publically from one media outlet to another one. Everyone has a comment to say, especially when it has to do with an entertainer who likes to have it her way, and with Lady GaGa her way is simply just out of the norm.

    -Ilyssa Miroshnik

  4. Pingback: Goodbye to Gaga: A Little Monster Leaves His Nest | Smart Reviews

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