There are many words that could describe Lady Gaga. One day she is in drag as Jo Calderone and the next she is dressed in sea-shell bikini, who truly is Gaga? With her various and often irreconcible fashion choices, there are many shades of Gaga that defy all expectations for a female pop star. However, there are two words that I believe sufficiently describe Gaga, NOT NORMAL.
In his book Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal, J. Jack Halberstam looks to Lady Gaga to explain his contemporary gender politics. Gaga feminism, like the Lady herself, deconstructs any sort of order or preconceived ideas. This modern-day feminism uproots all conventional beliefs and patriarchal notions. As a result, this feminism doesn’t alter the current capitalistic, patriarchal system, it questions and obliterates all “truths” associated with the system. J. Jack Halberstem makes it explicit in his book that he views Lady Gaga as a model for this gaga feminism. Though many feminist like Susan Fauldi believe that Gaga is what ails feminism today, Halberstem says the female pop star is a champion for the end of “normal,” or in other words the end of an oppressive patriarchal system. In the preface of his book, Halberstem explains why he chose Gaga to represent this new kind of feminism that destroys those malignant notions of what is normal. Halberstem asserts that Gaga, is “a sign of a new world disorder, and a loud voice for different arrangements of gender, sexuality, visibility, and desire.” Thus, Gaga like her eponymous feminism, disrupts the current order of our world and breaks down those rigid walls of the two-sex, heterosexual system.
Halberstem further clarifies that “Gaga feminism will locate Lady Gaga as merely the most recent marker of the withering away of old social models of desire, gender and sexuality, and a channel for potent new forms of relation, intimacy, technology, and embodiment.” As a result, gaga feminism will make people in a sense “go gaga.” People will steer away from all that is “normal” and “give up on the tried and the true, the real and authentic, the proven and the tested, and instead encourages a move toward the insane, the preposterous, the intellectually loony and giddy, hallucinatory visions of alternative futures.”
One way that Lady Gaga goes “gaga” is through her fashion choices. Fashion for the Lady allows her to transcend the boundaries of the current world order and move towards a limitless world of freedom and creativity. With her meat dress and condom costume, Gaga crushes the conventional beauty standards for a female. Therefore, Lady Gaga, like gaga feminism, calls into question what it means to feminine and destroys any ideal that the patriarchal system has for women. Lady Gaga at the National Equality March Gaga at the #4THE4K Rally