Despite writing about abortion legislation, rape culture, and other "controversial" subjects, I am legitimately nervous to post about one of my favorite musicians: Lady Gaga.
I don’t mean to go all "leave Britney alone," here but what is with the Gaga backlash and why are people so mad at her? Lady Gaga has said she doesn't need to be defended, and far be it from me to disobey Mother Monster, but my god. WHEN did pop fans get so mean?
Lady Gaga has been famous since 2007-2008, and massive since 2009 — which is most of my adult life. In the golden years of Kermit dresses and "bad romances," she was everywhere, and even though everyone thought she was kind of out there, she was pretty well-liked, at least until Born This Way. The title track was an obvious gay anthem but critics said it felt a little too close to Madonna’s "Express Yourself," in both message and sound (as a devotee of both, I recognize they’re similar but do not think they are the same). ARTPOP, Gaga’s third full-length album, was released on Monday, and critics are "eh," or just really hate it.
Personally, I'm a superfan and I LOVE THIS ALBUM (listen to this performance on Howard Stern), but my issue isn’t actually with people who don’t like it, or don't like her as an artist; rather it’s the barrage of personal attacks that are widely traded and accepted among pop fans.
While she is certainly not the only artist to face this kind of unnecessary criticism, the irony is glaring with Gaga, as she has a foundation dedicated to ending bullying. People don't just say "I don't like this song," instead they complain that she’s always naked, or too big, or copying someone, or that she’s "dumbing down gay culture."
I have two major problems with this anti-Gaga sentiment:
First, when is the last time anyone had anything to say about a male singer gaining/losing weight or not wearing clothes? A short skirt (or a meat dress) does not make a female artist any less talented and thus is not a point, rather it's a gross exercise in slut-shaming.
Second, whatever you think of her music, Lady Gaga has done A LOT for gay rights, including but not limited to: this speech at a 2010 rally against DOMA; choosing to make her first public appearance since canceling her tour last year this June at NYC Pride, and perhaps more subtly, but no less important: she continues to publicly identify as bisexual, an orientation which people still doubt exists in 2013.
There are some criticisms I'll entertain and some decisions I question, like working with Terry Richardson or R. Kelly for example, but she’s 27 — one of us, a millennial. Her messages of self-acceptance and equality have always overridden her more questionable decisions.
Lady Gaga told 60 Minutes a couple of years ago , "People take me both way too seriously and not seriously enough." If you like this album, great, let’s hang out and we can put "Gypsy" on repeat. If you don’t like ARTPOP, or pop music, or if you prefer Britney or Katy, THAT’S ALSO FINE (I can talk "Perfume" or Prism too), but personal attacks do not have to follow a differing opinion.
Gaga may not need to be defended, but I think she deserves to be here. Music is not about whose fans are meaner, and while I know the internet is a vast abyss of haters, I wish it wasnt.
So, Gaga haters, get ready to kill the queen upon her throne — I’m ready for their stones.