Tuesday, August 17, 2010
She's got both hands in her pockets
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Lady Gaga; saying "huge fan" might not even cut it. Instead, words like "obsessed" or "crazy" or "crazy obsession" would fit the bill a bit more. So, with this, I suppose I'll recount the history of myself becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the world's greatest artist, and I'll definitely be addressing the fact that Ms Germanotta has become such a huge gay icon, and the effect that has on me being a straight male fan.
It was 2008. The song Just Dance started circulating the airwaves, and a great deal of people started to take notice; in fact, my friends, some of whom don't like Gaga at all nowadays, were onboard with the Just Dance craze. It wasn't until a results show of So You Think You Can Dance did I first see Lady Gaga perform, where she donned the glasses which spewed the message Pop Music Will Never Be Low Brow, extreme shoulder pads, and a leotard covering next to nothing, crotch-wise. Met with strange looks from the friends I watched the show with, I'd say, Come on guys, that's Lady Gaga!
Come August, when The Fame was released in Canada, I figured I liked Just Dance enough to check out the rest of the CD. Appearing on my iPod in alphabetical order, the first song to come on was Again Again - and, by the time it was over, I couldn't bring myself to move on to the next song without playing the song again, again, again. Even now it's one of my favourites. In all honesty, the amount of songs I like on The Fame is greatly outweighed by the songs I DISLIKE. I hate Poker Face. I'm no fan of Money Honey or Brown Eyes or Beautiful Dirty Rich; however the amount of love I invested in the songs I did like more than compensated, and it was enough to cement myself as a fan.
The hits rolled on, the outfits got more outrageous, and more and more people took notice, though developed their own dislike for the singer. I survived the Poker Face era, hating the song, though grateful that it propelled her to such fame; I was indifferent with LoveGame, feeling that it was superficial and honestly immature and embarrassing to hear on the radio; Paparazzi was next, my absolute favourite from The Fame, though it was my mom's least favourite, so I never got to appreciate it on the radio much. At that point, if ever, was the time that I was becoming a big fan. The video was the first of hers to become an event, and the accompanying performance at the VMAs was amazing, what with the blood and the hanging and the chill-inducing vocals.
The point that I became a massive, obsessive fan was when I had the opportunity to see her live, the night before the MMVAs, at the Kool Haus. Being ten feet away from her onstage is an indescribable feeling; the magnetitude of experiencing the full blown force of her talent was UNREAL.
By that point, The Fame era was coming to a close, and The Fame Monster began to flourish, coming with a change in Gaga. At first I was leery; I loved the bubbly Fame outfits and personality, and with the change came a confusion: Why does she look so different? At first I thought it was a nose job, but I came to accept that it was maturity, and the loss of bangs with her wigs and heavy makeup. At this point, her music videos became colossal events, and the album spawned bigger hits - Bad Romance, Telephone, my personal and all-time favourite Alejandro. I saw her twice during this era; once, only days after The Fame Monster was released, and as I witnessed The Monster Ball 1.0 she thanked the crowd for knowing the lyrics to every new song despite only having days to do so; the second time, just a month ago, with the revamped setlist and stage (2.0) though the shame sheer force of talent onstage in underwear. I eagerly await the release of her next album, to come in early 2011 with the title to be revealed as a tattoo on her body; until then, I'll bide the time by listening to the steady stream of unreleased song leaks I shamelessly play on repeat.
No more of that nostalgia.
The thing I've struggled most with as being a fan of Lady Gaga is the fact that she's become such a big advocate for the gays. She makes it clear she loves her gay fans. She spoils herself with glamour and has made a big part of her image about fashion. Her songs are pure pop.
Let me say that I have absolutely nothing against the gays; in fact I can say I support them. Love is love. Nobody has a right to impose on a person who they can and cannot love.
Being a straight male, I've found it hard to be such an open fan of Lady Gaga, for reasons quite obvious. Being a male and liking such a gay icon, I've been subject to accusations that I'm a homosexual - I'm sure if anyone knows me and has lurked my Formspring they'll see that harassment is nearly a daily routine, and that certain assholes are completely unable to accept the fact that, hello, I am straight, I've said so, and really, there's nothing above that than the person saying so themselves. Idiots are idiots. That being said, I find that I can't wear a Lady Gaga shirt in public without thoughts in my direction, equating "Male + Lady Gaga fan = gay."
This all culminates to this thought: I'm angry that in today's society, things are labeled "straight" and "gay" interests or habits or opinions or anything. Sports: "straight." I don't play sports because I'm "gay", but because I'm straight with no coordination. Lady Gaga: "gay." "She supports the gays, a huge part of her is fashion, her music is 'feminine.'" I don't listen to her music because I'm "gay;" I don't like her because I like fashion; I don't like her strictly because she's a gay advocate; I like her because she's TALENTED, because she's DIFFERENT, because she EVOLVES (which many artists are completely incapable of doing). I'm sick of people writing off interests, habits, opinions, on face value. I'm sick of stereotypes. Are all homosexuals "feminine" and "into fashion?" Absolutely not. Are all straight men "football jocks" who like "rock music?" Absolutely not. (and I use quotation marks to prove the point - otherwise, I'd be a hypocrite, using stereotypes and completely defeating my purpose)
And so, I say to you, as a straight male, I love Lady Gaga.
That quickly evolved from brainless prose to intensity, didn't it? Either way, I'm a Little Monster for life. I'm her biggest fan, I'll follow her (until she loves me?) until I die.