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Born this way

Born This Way ... Lady Gaga puts her world view on record.

Born This Way ... Lady Gaga puts her world view on record.

Caveat: This column is about outfits worn by the crowd at the final Lady Gaga concert in Sydney. If you don’t like her, her music, her message or if you’re homophobic then this is as far as you need read. Also maybe stop if you’re the mother of a teenage daughter - no good will come from knowing what she was actually wearing under the clothes she left the house in on Sunday night.

Lady Gaga has fans who are prepared to rage against the machine - one loony outfit at a time. 

I’m a popular culture groupie so I was truly excited about witnessing the Gaga phenomenon live in concert this week. A marketing genius, I admire her Madonna-like quest for perfection, fame and controversy. I was expecting an elaborate, grand scale production that included the following:

a) Thinly veiled religious references.

They weren’t so much veiled as painted in neon pink texta. The ‘Born This Way Ball’ had many rosaries, nuns habits made out of latex and an African American Jesus. I’m sorry but anybody that says she doesn’t reference Madonna – just does not know their Madonna.

b) Overt sexual moments.

She attached herself to a giant vagina and simulated fellatio within the first five minutes of the show.

c) Fabulously, crazy costumes.

Gaga did not disappoint with over 22 outfit changes designed by everyone from Giorgio Armani to Versace.

What I was not expecting was that her fans would steal the show. This is no easy task when you’re competing with a life-sized Gothic castle and a suspended cubic space ship containing the hologram of the super star. I actually stopped looking at the stage and watched the Little Monsters (that’s what she calls her fans but you knew that right…) instead.

Gaga does an impressive job of turning the crowd into stars. They’re the cliché: your local barista, the nutty neighbours, your son's music teacher, an old boyfriend who’s finally out of the closet… everyday people and they’re fabulous.

Little Monster(s) 1: Sitting directly in front of me was a gang of best friends who were dressed like pole dancers. From Thailand. They spent the night in various states of nudeness, screaming with happiness and taking pictures of each other. Not Gaga. Themselves.

Little Monster 2: A young Lady Boy in full drag with Coca-Cola cans in his hair wearing a mirrored leotard which he may or may not have whipped up on the Singer at home. He looked exactly like Cameron from Modern Family (yep, leotard) and spent the night ‘signing autographs’ for his ‘adoring’ fans.

Little Monster(s) 3: Mum and daughter. I’m going to put them at 43 and 15. From the bottom they were wearing: white patent leather knee high boots, black fishnets, black short shorts, black bra and faux fur jacket. At any other time I would have been judgmental but there was something very inclusive about their shared costume that made me feel perhaps Gaga had helped build a bridge?

Lady G’s message is self-acceptance via self-expression. She’s the champion of the misunderstood and the marginalised. Little Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta has used the story of her own triumph over adversity to sell millions of records and amass an army of fans with the same dream. She encourages them to interpret not copy her. This is a big distinction to other music acts in her genre - go to a Nicki Minaj gig and you’re coming home covered in pink hair. There was nobody at the concert that looked like a cookie cutter. They were Dahli-esque in their homage with every race, every sex, every persuasion proudly showing they were bornTHIS way.

Even if you don’t appreciate, or like Lady Gaga, there’s much to admire in the way she makes young people feel about themselves and the reassurance she provides. In a world where children are routinely bullied, where gay marriage still isn’t legal and where multiculturalism has failed dismally as an antidote to racism - young people really need a voice that promotes options and opportunities.

Lady Gaga might just be this voice? She certainly has fans that are prepared to rage against the machine - one loony outfit at a time.

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

34 comments so far

  • The anti-christ is here!

    Commenter
    gag her
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    June 27, 2012, 9:56AM
    • She represents success in a conservative corporate industry. The fashion industry. Success in the fashion and entertainment industry as revolutionary? Her creed is show flesh and dress bizarrely, not take on the coporate structures which give her wealth and celebrity. Does she rage against the free market system? No. Exploitation of third world countries? No. The disparities in wealth, education, health access in her society? No. She praises ‘me’ centric narcissists and suggests ‘weird fashion’ will empower you.
      Boy is she selling her followers a complete load of corporate sponsored bollocks.

      Commenter
      Mark D
      Location
      Durras
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 2:24PM
    • The Anti-Christ came and went last season Honey

      Commenter
      no gag reflex
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 2:27PM
    • and we're all thankful of that.
      Little bit of anti religion will do us all some good.
      If its Christ/god thats stopping people allowing Gay marriage, promoting homophobia, causing racism and non acceptance of a perceived 'norm' than I welcome the antichrist in all its glory and hope it reigns supreme.

      Commenter
      Danny
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 3:04PM
    • If that is the case then the 'anti-christ' is more christ like than the majority of christians..

      Commenter
      Matt
      Date and time
      June 28, 2012, 9:09AM
  • "Even if you don’t appreciate, or like Lady Gaga, there’s much to admire in the way she makes young people feel about themselves and the reassurance she provides."

    I think not. If she wanted to be a social worker she should have chosen that vocation. Cashing in on some (but thankfully not all) young persons' insecurities is ethically bankrupt and a woeful misuse of whatever talent she might have. Young people can feel good about themselves without having derivative American trash paraded before them and falsely argued for as positive just because she identifies with the victims of bullying. Actually what she is doing IS a form of bullying but she is too dim to see it. She is just suckering in those who don't yet get what she's up to. "Lady G’s message is self-acceptance via self-expression." No. Her message is "accept and worship me because I'm like you" which is as old as the hills.

    Commenter
    tp
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 27, 2012, 10:56AM
    • Reading your comment, you have obviously never been to her concert or had a good look at what she does and says. saying she cashes in on young people's insecurities is quite frankly wrong. She cashes in on being an amazing live singer with the ability to pull off a great concert in conjunction with selling a positive message. This is not a message about "accept and worship me because i'm like you" but a message about self acceptance and the story of her own life where she was like us, but became what she wanted to be through learning to accept who she is and through determination. The whole message is that through accepting who you are, you can achieve what you want to achieve as long as you work for it.
      and yes young people can feel good about themselves with Lady Gaga, but not everyone can and you would probably be surprised at how many people draw comfort and inspiration from her message because they actually listen to what she has to say. Especially the gay community.
      Also i genuinely want to know how you interpret what she is doing as bullying?

      Commenter
      Gary
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 1:11PM
    • so, single handedly getting the US government to abolish the armed forces' don't ask don't tell policy is 'cashing in'? it is a very simplistic and ignorant view to assume that you can only make changes to peoples' lives if you are a social worker or the like. people from all walks of life can instigate change but using your formula only politicians are involved in politics? also, lady gaga made next to no money on her last tour as she pours everything she makes back into her work which includes setting up the born this way foundation. look. it. up.

      Commenter
      Goo Goo
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 3:25PM
    • Why do I have to go to a concert when they are readily available to view online? Practically every celeb has a foundation or supports a cause - it's what they do. What makes Gaga so special?

      "The whole message is that through accepting who you are, you can achieve what you want to achieve as long as you work for it."

      Please spare us! You'll be telling us she empowers you next. Self-acceptance is dubious at best if it's being channeled by a savvy marketing machine. The idea is to accept yourself without some gaudy Pied Piper telling you it's OK to do so. Jonestown.

      She hectors - it's a form of bullying.

      Commenter
      tp
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 4:58PM
    • @ Goo Goo. 'single handedly getting the US government to abolish the armed forces' don't ask don't tell policy'.
      Talk about a 'very simplistic and ignorant view'.
      The repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Act was a long fought battle by the American general public. If anyone deserves praise it should be the soilders who bravely spoke out against the act.
      All Gaga did was jump on the bandwagon at the last minute, continuing her shameless attempt for self-promotion.

      Commenter
      Michael
      Date and time
      June 27, 2012, 6:05PM

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