Lady Gaga case study

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Lady Gaga case study

  1. 1. LADY GAGA: POSTMODERN AGENT A CASE STUDY
  2. 2. LEARNING OUTCOMES • To discuss Lady Gaga as a postmodern ‘agent’ of feminist pastiche • To explore and challenge the notion of fixed gender categories • To recap the theories of Laura Mulvey and Janice Winship
  3. 3. THE FACTS • Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, activist, businesswoman, fashion designer, actress and philanthropist. • Born: March 28, 1986, New York City • Full name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta • Height: 1.55 m • Albums include The Fame and Born This Way • Hits include Paparazzi, Poker Face , Bad Romance and Telephone
  4. 4. LADY GAGA - TELEPHONE • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVBsypH zF3U • To what extent are gender stereotypes perpetrated? • Do you recognise anything familiar from the video from other artists or films?
  5. 5. Fashion –Madonna, Britney, Christina
  6. 6. • Pussy Wagon from ‘Kill Bill’ by Quentin Tarantino • Beyonce’s jacket looked like on Michael Jackson wore in the 80’s • Holding hands at the end from ‘Thelma and Louise’
  7. 7. THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997, directed by Luc Besson) Gaga borrows her idea from Milla Jovovich’s character Leeloo
  8. 8. SELF PARODY • It begins where her previous video ‘Paparazzi’ finished • You can also hear another song of hers ‘Paper Gangsta’ through the earphones
  9. 9. IS THE VIDEO ALSO A COMMERCIAL? • Gaga references Virgin Mobile, Beats by Dre and the dating website www.plentyoffish.com in the video
  10. 10. BREAD ADVERT? • Gaga and Akerlund challenge the gender stereotype of the "perfect housewife" portrayed heavily in 1950s pop culture, using Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip as their artistic devices
  11. 11. THEORY RECAP 1 • Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory (1975) • Argument: the camera constructs an apparently ‘objective’ view of events through a male perspective • The male is active (looking) and the female passive (an object to be looked at)
  12. 12. THEORY RECAP 2 • Janice Winship (1987) argues that “the gaze between cover model and women readers marks the complicity between women seeing themselves in the image which the masculine culture has defined”
  13. 13. ALTHUSSER RECAP • This resonates with the Marxist idea developed by Althusser’s (1977) notion of ‘interpellation’ – the social/ideological practice of misrecognising yourself
  14. 14. WINSHIP • Winship’s notion of complicity is about us being prepared, for the reward of gratification, to recognise the ideal version of ourselves despite the anxiety this may cause
  15. 15. WINSHIP/MARX • For feminists, the male culture reinforces its power by defining women in this way and encouraging the anxiety • The Marxist term for this is ‘false consciousness’
  16. 16. WHY DO WOMEN PUT UP WITH THIS? THEY’RE NOT STUPID! • Through a range of cultural reinforcements in the media, women are distracted from in the inequality in our society
  17. 17. JUDITH BUTLER • She sets up gender as entirely cultural and as an act of performance, suggesting ‘gender trouble’ – the deliberate subversion of gendered behaviour as a political response
  18. 18. BIG FAT QUOTE! That the gendered body is performative suggests that it has no ontological status apart from the various acts which constitute its reality (Butler, 1990)
  19. 19. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? • It is only our daily collective performances of gender that make it what it is • It does not exist outside of these performances so we are not performing anything that existed before (this is what ontology means) • For example, the act of wearing make up defines gender and not the gender of the person wearing it
  20. 20. THAT’S A BIT COMPLICATED • Yes, it is, because when these performances are subverted it doesn’t simply mean that you are creating alternative versions of ‘being male/female’ • Sometimes there is parody and pastiche – think Little Britain and…. Lady Gaga
  21. 21. LADY GAGA – POSTMODERN AGENT • According to Bacon (2010), postmodern feminism challenges the fixed notion of fixed gender categories • These carry power in the media, so undermining them through subversion is an act of resistance to this power. • It can be argued that Lady Gaga does this all the time - THEORY LINKS: Butler - HOW? Gaga is male/female through what she does and not what she is - EXAMPLES: Performing in a plastic bubble dress, performing covered in blood, wearing a dress of raw meat, performing in a dress made of Kermit the Frog dolls, wearing 16 inch heels to make herself taller,
  22. 22. CLOTHES • They exaggerate normal ideas of fashion and of sexual power and subordination • Maybe she critiques the history of gender oppression through/by her ‘extreme’ fashion • In other words, she deliberately chooses to not dress how a woman is supposed to
  23. 23. LADY GAGA – BAD ROMANCE • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrO4YZe yl0I
  24. 24. VIDEOS • She situates herself on the boundary of various oppositions – human/non-human, sexy/distorted • She also exaggerates female objectification in a ironic manner • This puts into question whether or not all ‘male gaze’ looking is distortion
  25. 25. GAGA
  26. 26. IS IT ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT SHE’S JUST ‘SEXY’? • Is the idea that images in her videos simultaneously reinforce powerful and oppressive ideas about what women’s bodies are ‘supposed’ to look like? • Do they draw attention to such ‘embodiments’ of the beauty standard?
  27. 27. BACON SPEAKS FOR GAGA! • Because it don’t allow my gender restrictions to represent how I am perceived. I don’t have to be the next ‘Britney’ or ‘Christina’. Am I unwillingly objectified? Or am I authorising my own power? I am both endangered and dangerous. The category of gender is a means of oppression (Gaga is forced to be sex slave) The category of gender is a source of liberation (Gaga sets her captor on fire with an electrified bra) Are you buying into the idea that women’s bodies are readily available commodities? Or are you in on the joke? Bacon, 2010

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