Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Has Lady Gaga killed off sex? Top feminist claims biggest pop star on the planet is all style and no substance



By Daily Mail Reporter

'Lavishly scripted': Lady Gaga made one of her famous far-from-incognito trips through the airport in New York yesterday - which have attracted criticism from Camille Paglia for being contrived

Leading American feminist author Camille Paglia accuses Lady Gaga of being an 'asexual copycat' who carefully scripts her every move

Since leaping to fame two years ago, Lady Gaga has become one of the biggest popstars in the world with sell-out tours, No.1 songs and a league of fans.

But after managing to outshock yet again with her raw meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, it looks like the honeymoon with Gaga and her 'little monsters', as she likes to call her fans, may be beginning to wane.

Leading feminist author Camille Paglia, 63, has hit out at the singer's flamboyant, racy image - insisting her over-the-top sexuality is actually 'stripped of genuine eroticism'.

She cites the star's willingness to walk through an airport in yet another crazy outfit - as she did in New York last night - as an example of 'every public appearance... has been lavishly scripted in advance'.

Deconstructing Gaga: American feminist author Camille Paglia

Wearing a choice of outfit that is likely to irk Paglia, the 24-year-old tottered through JFK Airport last night in baby pink lingerie and 12-inch Alexander McQueen armadillo heels, with handcuffs hanging off her belt.

Paglia's main complaint in her deconstruction of pop's newest icon is that Gaga isn't sexy enough, questioning whether her opinion of sex is simply 'decor and surface'.

Writing in the Sunday Times Magazine, she accused Gaga of not being one of the few original artists of today's young music scene, claiming she has copied a host of iconic stars, most notably Madonna.

Many critics hailed the video to Gaga's last single Alejandro as heavily borrowing from Madonna's Vogue and Like A Prayer videos.

Paglia said: 'Gaga has borrowed so heavily from Madonna that it must be asked, at what point does homage become theft? However, the main point is that the young Madonna was on fire. She was indeed the imperious Marlene Dietrich’s true heir.'

However, Gaga herself has acknowledged comparisons to the Material Girl, saying last year: 'I think what Madonna and I share is that we are both fearless. We both have a lot of nerve.

'We're both Italian-American women, we both started out in the New York underground scene - and we both became famous when we dyed our hair blonde.'

Looking to old Hollywood: Gaga's gold shell bikini looks similar to one worn by silent screen actress Theda Bara, who played Cleopatra in the 1917 movie

Familiar: Lady Gaga's lightning bolt chic appeared to be borrowed from the cover of David Bowie's 1973 album Aladdin Sane

Paglia also lists Gaga as a 'ruthless recycler' of styles and techniques 'borrowed' from Cher, Jane Fonda as Barbarella, Gwen Stefani, Pink, David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich and silent screen star Theda Bara.

Before Gaga: The singer was plain-old Stefani Germanotta in the MTV hidden camera show Boiling Point in 2005

Rather cuttingly, Paglia proclaims the real-life drag queens which Gaga aligns herself with are actually 'far sexier' than the singer.

Away from her frequent performances at gigs and award shows, Gaga is always in character, from chat show interviews to walking through the airport to catch a flight.

Her 24/7 flamboyance and insistence on wearing next-to-nothing to somewhere as normal as the gym or a restaurant is 'sexually dysfunctional' according to Paglia - bringing sex into somewhere completely non-sexual.

Born Stefani Joanne Germanotta to wealthy Italian American Catholics, Gaga attended one of Manhattan's leading private schools and excelled in both musical theatre and her studies.

But sometime between college and 2008 - when she released her debut album The Fame - the singer ditched her girl-next-door brunette looks in favour of the eccentric artiste named Lady Gaga.

In her essay, Paglia questions Gaga representing herself as the voice of the world's misfits after proclaiming she didn't fit in at school.

Gaga said last year: 'I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn’t fit in, and I felt like a freak.'

However, school and college friends of Gaga insist she was a normal girl, far removed from the outlandish pop star we see today.

College pal Jon Sheldrick told Gaga biographer Maureen Callahan this year: 'I don’t mean to sound demeaning, but she was really normal. She wasn’t super-outspoken or into really edgy clothes. She was wearing T-shirts and sweatpants and s**t. She was not a misfit.'

Provocative: Gaga on stage in Paris this year (left) and Madonna on tour in 1990

Paglia - who declared Madonna as the future of feminism 20 years ago - wrote: 'Although she presents herself as the clarion voice of all the freaks and misfits of life, there is little evidence that she ever was one...

'There is a monumental disconnect between Gaga’s melodramatic self-portrayal as a lonely, rebellious, marginalised artist and the powerful corporate apparatus that bankrolled her makeover and has steamrollered her songs into heavy rotation on radio stations everywhere.'

Paglia's Sunday Times essay isn't the first time she has questioned Gaga, after raising the issue of her age in her Salon.com column last year.

She wrote last November: 'Now, come on, people, do you really believe that Lady Gaga is 23 years old? I've been in advanced doubt about it for a while, particularly after seeing early videos of her hanging with some mighty tough critters... I think Gaga was a hell of a lot sexier as a fun Italian-American brunette.'

Hug a hoodie: As a newcomer, Gaga wore a red hoodie to the 2008 MTV VMAs and Kylie in a white hoodie in her 2001 video Can't Get You Of My Head

In Gaga's defence, Guardian writer Alex Needham accused Paglia of being 'unfair' to criticise the pop star's relentless work ethic as a smokescreen for 'avoiding serious scrutiny'.

Since Let's Dance hit the charts two years ago, Gaga has toured the world relentlessly, bouncing back from several health scares.

It's no surprise given her permanent prominence of the music scene over the last couple of years that she has been diagnosed with suffering from 'exhaustion' by doctors.

Needham writes: '(Paglia) seems to think that the job of a performer is to be dissected by beady feminist critics rather than to, well, perform – and how is strutting your stuff to 10,000 paying punters a night "avoiding scrutiny".'

Whether or not Paglia's criticism of Gaga's constructed image will be repeated among the singer's contemporaries remains to be seen.

But for now, Gaga is sitting quite comfortably amidst the world's biggest pop stars and is unlikely to be losing her pop princess crown anytime soon.

source: dailymail [endtext]

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