Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 March “Lady Gaga, Friend or Foe? Are we truly Free?”

After I wrote this post, I talked to a friend about  it. She came over and showed me the latest Lady Gaga Video (telephone) and, though I try to be open-minded, I was so shocked by the beginning bits, before the song actually started, that I almost cried. Watching the overt sexuality that honestly is only playing or pandering to a very low rung of male deviance (tough women wrestling) made me so sad. Here is this lovely talented girl who could really make beautiful music and yet there has to be all this ‘over the top in your face’ images. Why not just singing and music? Have we become so jaded and so bored with SO MUCH visual stimuli that we can only be shocked to sit up and take notice? Is there just so much going on all around us all the time that this is really what modern entertainment has to be? It does not make me mad or hate the person, but makes me wonder at the psychological health of our society and culture. 

I could not watch the whole video. I don’t want to despair of our modern world, but I wonder at Feminists who call 1950’s fashion oppression and restriction and sexist and then see a girl needing to literally dance and dress as a modern stripper and wonder, how far have we come? The holding of a door by a man is bad somehow, but to portray to young girls and boys that women are sexualized objects that must be in your face and scantily clad is scarier to me. What shall we do, ladies? Is there a way to fix or make a better world? Or do we need to merely become a sub-culture of old ideals, fashion, and living? I despair for the future generations and am sad that the passion and joy of pure art, entertainment and the lovely feel of relationships being ‘special’ and not just ‘available when you want it’. The human animal has become merely an object, without feeling or value. The only value being in the sexual aspects of it, which then disregards anyone over 35 and forget about the wisdom of the old. Yet, what wisdom shall there be in the old of the future. I am so sorry to be so bleak.

Well, here is the post I made BEFORE I saw that video. Maybe there is hope, I honestly don’t know.

 

I know this is not terribly 1956, but on my last post we had a little discussion about Lady Gaga. Though, I do not think her main image and music is any different than much glam/pop type dance music out there, she, as a performer, I believe is talented. I feel her current ‘image’ is almost due to she being a product of the times in which we live. If we continue to embrace greed, Fame, commercialism and such, is it a surprise music takes on that ilk? However, Lady Gaga herself,  at least what I gleaned from various interviews I found online, is actually anti-fame, has a good voice, is rather smart, and actually does not like the FAME lifestyle of big houses and plenty of Bling.

So, I thought, let’s listen to this version of one of her songs. The classical quality of her piano playing of her own writing and the pure joy she feels in her singing shines here. Her throaty tonal quality of her voice make me want to hear her sing 30s/40’s standards on a lavish Hollywood set. Even her hat is adorable here. We Apronite’s are not closed minded and will not make judgments until we have heard it all, at least I think that is our way.

So, let’s watch this first (it is not racy, don’t worry ladies, no nudity or anything, ) and then get to the meat of it.

This version of her song (though the lyrics are a little silly about getting ‘hot’) the sing song jazzy sound is rather good.

I guess I just wonder if we did live in a different society today, would she be up there with the singers of the 40/50s? She wouldn’t need to be ‘shocking’ or ‘overtly sexual’ and could dispense of this modern nonsense of always needed to be controversial and just get on with the joy of singing and the happiness of music and entertainment. It is almost sad to me that today if there is an actual talent, they must muck about with the nonsense of Shock and Awe. Ella and Billie and Peggy hadn’t had to worry if they were ‘controversial’ enough. They could just belt it out and it was accepted and wonderful.

Maybe, just maybe, Lady Gaga could have been doing as lovely Peggy Lee is doing here and sing and entertain and be glamorous.

Another aspect is the bizarre but obvious fashion of Lady Gaga. Girls once had such fashion and looks to aspire to as this 39 Vogue Hat vogue39hat2 You can see how an appeal of Gaga’s fashion has a pull to the young in their sea of product printed hoodies and sea of jeans. They certainly can’t turn to their well dressed mothers in hats and darling outfits and think, “One day, I will be a prettily dressed grown up” so, such artists draw the young in merely by their extreme fashion. Even a bright blue high cut leotard or red vinyl body suit has more appeal or more ‘passion’ than the jeans, oversized tops most teens see all the time. Perhaps, just maybe, some of the appeal of such artists is due to our own style approach?

I think I should never want us to lose sight of the value of artistic expression. When it is done as  pure joy or as a contrast to current norms, it has, in its very action, value. It says to us, “Hmm, think about things:your life, society, current concepts differently” and that can’t ever be bad. We do that here all the time as we go against the grain of modern ‘feminism’ and the modern ‘role of women’. In a way, in our petticoats smiling with a drink for our hubby, are we not as ‘in your face’ as Josephine once was shaking her banana’s? Do we not sometimes receive ill-informed judgments of our actions? :You must be trapped. You are oppressed, repressed. You are undermining women’s rights etc. Yet, we know it is not true. We must also remember that even further back than Madonna was Josephine Baker who was literally forced to move to France (where her actions were viewed as extreme as in America)  due to her ‘over the top’ dances and yet, she was not a wretch, nor  a whore not any such thing. IN fact she dedicated much of her money and love to raising countless adopted children over the years. I suppose, I don’t want us ever to judge too harshly.

Now, in a case of say a Britney Spears, I see a person who has ‘made it’ based on the very structure that built her up as a product to sell. Her music written for her, her dances made for her, even her voice not very good it piped in for her to lip-synched at performances, and yet mothers with children will happily sing along to her latest song in the car with her children. She has shown us her ‘real self’ in various paparazzi photos of how she ‘raises’ her children etc.

Now, in a case of a Lady Gaga, I actually see someone with both talent and artistic merit. She has skill and intelligence and actually views much of the FAME world today as ludicrous. I only wish she could use her talent and ability to make her followers feel more than just to be ‘different’ is an answer to life. To actually make and create is important. We won’t all be famous, yet the current trend for all youths seems to get rich and live FABULOUS lifestyles. But, what of the art of the kitchen, the song of the small family, the happiness of your small community and your small part in it. All of those things are valid and if only there were some way to get the Lady Gaga’s to be a wonderful talented background to that world, it could be as it once was. The songs and stars of the past often lived outside society’s norms, but their affect on the masses who chose not to live that way, was still entertainment and joy pure JOY that could be shared from grandma down to little Johnny. Lady Gaga now is Very shocking and I can understand why you would not want your daughter to listen to her, yet she is not a sudden surprise. Our world is so set up with reality tv, commercialism, over sexuality etc, we cannot be surprised. But, I can feel sad as I really feel a girl such as she in say 1940’s could have been a great entertainer. She would not have to react to nor subscribe to our current society which is all about appearence, yet without expressing ourselves in original fashion, but rather mass produced items and sameness. That is part of the sadness of the modern world for me. Someone from 1955 would laugh if you told them you paid money to wear a shirt that advertises the company from which you bought it.


Now, back to Lady Gaga. This outdated and out moded NEED to shock has certainly run its course. Let it, like the irreverent art movements of the 80’s, fall to the wayside and let us rejoice and embrace actual talent and it’s expression in Joy or sorrow, love or pain, but enough has been said and demonstrated of Lust, Cruel want for wealth, and In your face shock. It has been said. We are angry when those famous say it and represent it in their songs and videos, yet do we not feed into that very society with many of our choices. Even choosing to merely ignore it is, in a way, only adding to it. If somehow we could, through example in our own lives, rather than just our voice, express the need to change the world in which lady Gaga is Lady Gaga and not just a great singer of songs written by a current talented song writer like Copeland. The world is made up of all of us. We may act as if we have no control over it, but the trends and actions are made my our decisions or even our decision to simply turn away from it.

So, when I see a Lady Gaga, I feel a little saddened because I feel she is the type to have the talent and power and artistic ability to actually make an entire MOVEMENT towards expressing Joy and Life through music and art and throngs would follow her there. I feel she has so much more to say than simply, “look how shocking I am” and if she would say it, what a difference she could make. But, maybe if we all work a bit each day at improving our life outwards, the actions of True talent, Joy and happy living will begin to trump the idea of ease, money, and lazy rudeness. And, as Josephine Baker went from the young girl in The Banana dance, to this performance in 1950s, maybe the Lady Gaga of tomorrow will be different because we are being different as well.

Maybe Gaga’s expression of society as an artist will change if we all work to change what society is. We mustn't remain happy to merely dislike or be angry with the world unless we plan to change it. Though we may simply be a little homemaker in a little town in a rural area, we can still make a difference; we can still be that tiny pebble that sends large ripples through the great pond. Take pride in our dress, and attitude. Make and create our own food and clothes. Insist we and are family are important enough to have a nice dinner at a table with real dishes. Know it is better to try and shop local even if it is not always easier and important to get out into the community and connect. Begin to know our neighbors and make entertainment that involves and does not exclude youth. And make those changes. Perhaps our children won’t need, then, to look to the tv and Fame to find passion, art, and role models and maybe, just maybe, those in Fame and power will want or need to mirror the current trend of talent, hard work and deeper expression. In a way, all that happens in our country is part of our responsibility.

If we currently live in a society where someone both with actual talent or one who is just marketed, but both need the overt in your face approach to become mainstream, what does that say about that society? We do not merely respond to good talent for how would we? Our only connection to the world is though the tv and computer unless we live in large cities. The concept of the radio as it once was is no longer. We find and are introduced to new music through advertising, as much as we are anything else.The one positive role of the computer is it can and may put the power of the real talent and small time artist back into their hands and allow the masses access to them. Not just what large media companies feel we will respond to.

So, it makes we realize we all really can make such differences ourselves. Even when we choose to ‘dress nicely’ all the time (it doesn't’ have to be vintage) we are making not only an artistic statement but an actual valid change in our own life that says, “I am important to myself and my community and how I look affects others as well as myself.” There would maybe not be such a need to worship such obscure fashion statements as Lady Gaga, if the average teenager had the clothes and fashions of their own. They are a sea of hoodies, advertising shirts and sports printed shirts, jeans, tennis shoes and uggs. NO WONDER they lust after such extreme fashion statements as lady Gaga has made. They don’t realize how much they could have in their own life. Gone are the days of girls happily sewing and making dresses of various styles and their designs or planning to dress and look pretty like the various grown ups in their lives. We all, really, are craving change because we live in a world of ease in some areas. Cooking, clothes, decor, all that is rather easy and for the working masses, there is nothing left to do after working but watching tv and playing on the internet. If we could but take back those things we so happily delegated to the factories (food, clothing, decor) our living WOULD become more meaningful.

Now, I am not saying everyone. I am sure there are many of you out there that are happy just as you are, but I have found that most people who read my blog are ‘looking’ for something. There life is good, but…there is a missing element and we can often find it in the GOOD ways of yesterday. And, if we make them the NEW ways of today, we won’t feel we are only living a past life. Rather than having to isolate ourselves we will be encouraging others outside of it and their normal may become ours.

Here are two photos just to think about.

averagewomantoday50swomenatgrocerystore

I am not saying either group of these two women are better than the other or the one is smarter or more repressed. What I am saying is, if you see these two images of the average woman today and then what you would see in the 50’s (not that there were not sloppily dressed then, but on the norm women in hats and gloves was normal). Could a young girl becoming  a teen want to emulate the fashion of her mother more, if it were in fact different and more grown up than her own? I am not saying yes, but just curious what you think. And how you feel or view these two images next to one another. How much attraction of a person as Lady Gaga is the youthful need to express and want to ‘dress up’ by her extreme fashions in contrast to the sameness of today?

  Now, before I publish this I am going to make some statements that might help those who are going to tell me how close minded or ill-informed I am. I am not saying ALL people must change and live as I say. I am everyday learning new things about my own modern world and the past and always adjusting my life to better suit, so I do not have an exact unchanging ‘Rule List” I wish to impose on any of you.

Also, I merely am stating ideas as questions to you as: do you think this could be true? Is it nonsense? What is your opinion on the matter? Not, “This is how it is, now go out and do my bidding”. So that covers that. As to any other comments, which I am sure I shall get, we shall deal with them case by case, I suppose, but it does always make for good conversation, I think. I just hope that we can see that all of what happens in our modern world is affected and due to all of us, which in a way makes it good. It means if we don’t like it, we need to change it and that change can’t be asked of anyone else until we first make it for ourselves. It would hardly be fair to ask others unless we, ourselves, first try.

Just for fun, here is a 1950’s maidenform bra admaidenformad with a hair bow like Lady Gaga’sladygaga I just thought it interesting is all.

So, maybe one day, if we do act and want to change our current world, the young kids will want to see a lady Gaga such as this.

32 comments:

  1. Where are the singers like Doris Day, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney? They were real women with real issues, but they always tried to present themselves as ladies. It is sad that men and women don't value themselves enough to act like upstanding citizens. Sometimes I wish it were really 1956! ~Dan~

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  2. I hadn't ever heard of the young woman you mentioned, Lady Gaga; I did watch almost the complete video shown. To be honest, I did NOT hear ANY quality of voice that would compare to Josephine Baker, the great Ella, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, or the other great singers of the 40's and 50's. Dianne

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  3. No, that is true, but she sings well enough to at least sing with just a piano, while she is known for her in your face dance music over produced. And she is a popular singer, so I was just wishing, silly of course, that her 'contrary' approach could be to go to the other extreme and be less 'electronic and sexual' and more 'pure music and joy' I was only using her as an example as she is THE popular youth sensation right now. There are PLENTY of people with better voices out there, but they are not being heard, also because of the way the recording industry and how music is heard locally now.

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  4. it is so hard to raise boys in this day and age with the influences in the world. it isn't just in the pop world either. women have just stopped being ladies. my son's 5th grade teacher has a couple of tattoos and dresses like a teenage. this is a 40 year old woman with a masters degree. one of our neighbors works as a stripper at nights and spends her days riding around on her bike in a bikini. i'm not a prude, but for god sakes put some clothes on. i have found that one of the ways to combat these images for my sons is to randomly throw out statements for him to think about, such as, "you may think the stripper is hot, but would you really want to date a girl who all your friends have seen naked. wouldn't you want to be with a girl who saved herself for only you". I think slowly his attitude is starting to change. I guess i got off topic since we were discussing lady gaga, but it's not just her and the pop culture. it seems to be every where. people have no standards. i guess the best thing is to try to instill standards in our homes and hope that is works out.

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  5. my opinion--she borrows heavily in music style from Tori Amos, and fashion style from Elton John. i'm not overly fond of the modern style of singing either (barring Amos, because she doesn't seem to be *straining* the voice out and has actually a lot of experience playing live--a similarity with the 50's counterparts that i believe makes one 'better' somehow).

    what about Corinne Bailey Rae? she's a good example (or at least what i have seen of her) of trying to inject glamour and femininity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzper-V_Q-A

    the real truth is that these people are packaged products. if the advertising specialists and image stylists think that it will sell more records, they will put you in a ballgown or bubble wrap. commercialism trumps all considerations, and perhaps it ever was so.

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  6. To be honest...I never expected you to take my comments this far. ha-ha

    I had NEVER even heard of the person prior to my friends post (at least not enough to take notice or recall her). And having seen the video cold turkey, knowing nothing about her, I could only watch the first few minutes and I was so appalled (due to my lack of TV, and disinterest in modern media in general) that I had to turn it off. I only watched it because of a) as I said, nosiness, and b) I do like Beyonce normally.

    I just watched the videos you posted and I have to admit, I am shocked that she can sing at all. I didn't make it to much of the music in the "Telephone" video.

    On that note (pardon the pun), I would have to say that while I agree with Dianne that she is not an Ella, Rosemary, Josephine, etc... she does have enough ability to do something good with it.

    After reading your post, I guess that is what I find the most appalling out of all this. This young woman was raised in a world that she was taught that in order to be 'free' and a 'feminist' etc., she had to display herself in an overtly sexual way that devalues her to a commodity rather than a person of talent and quality. And she is perpetrating this ideology by making videos like "Telephone".

    Young people out there are watching that video and thinking what they see is 'cool' 'rad' or whatever slang they use now for things they like immensely. I just don't understand why feminism as modern world decrees it is a blatant show of sexuality that panders to the lowest form of male lusts. The visuals in that video reminded me of pictures I saw one time from a very LOW level form of porn from the mid century (not sure of the year). Just women being viewed as nothing more than objects for mans desire. No substance.

    I agree with you so much, Donna. I am saddened beyond belief. Not only that Lady GaGa is selling herself short with her vulgarity, but that she is continuing passing on that view to the rest of the youngsters out there.

    Now, don't get me wrong...I am all for freedom of expression, etc. But this type of thing has been done to death, just not to the extremes I am seeing now.

    What scares me is, what's next?

    By the way, the only reason I posted my original post was I thought you would find it humorous that I had been so shocked by this video due to my shunning of modern media. It was something like some of the shocking moments you have mentioned when you have been tossed rudely into 2010 from 1956.

    Personally, I think I would keep 1956.

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  7. From my little old lady perspective, Donna, what I find frightening is that most young people today (very early teens to mid 20's) can not relate to a video like the one of J. Baker in the 50's or understand the quality of her voice.. Once again, my perspective finds the "creative" outfits of today's performers are to present a visual image to distract from their VERY limited talents. It seems to be all about the visual image; I think when young people are just listening to a cd, ipod,or the radio, they have a VISUAL image of the performer running through their mind. Also of concern is the fact that most who are attracted to these performers have NO knowledge (or care to know)just how limited the talent being presented is! Why, oh, why do they refer to everyone who performs as an "artist"; it is such a pathetic joke. To repeat, just my little old lady perspective. Dianne

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  8. i doubt you would find very many feminists who enjoy such images, in anything other than a "well, she is a grown woman who can do as she likes" kind of way. generally, they are very concerned with the sexualization of images in the media as many-steps-backwards. this goes to the corsetting discussiona again--we may have 'equality' and be able to work and do as we like with our money, but i believe many feminists find those images just as troubling because they reduce women to a base value that states that your only contribution is as a slave-doll to the masses. it basically re-diminutizes women back into a box where only their sexual value matters.

    this axe that everyone has to grind about feminists is just kind of startling around here, sometimes. perhaps those women who 'fought for' the right to do what so many take for granted are a bit more strident in what they have to say because they had to overcome the general opinion that they "could not" do what they liked and still be a good wife/mother/etc. most modern women i've come across (admittedly not too many) wouldn't care at all whether we stay at home sewing dresses or are out being CEO's, as long as it were truly a choice we made FOR ourselves and not at the demands of some larger (male) culture.

    then again, i could be wrong as usual!

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  9. I think my only 'attack' on some feminism, is since my 1955 year, I have begun to see the 60s/70s feminists as somehow having an attitude that they invented feminisms. That they 'fought so hard for it' when what I have found in my study is the real 'fighters' were those women at the turn of the last century who were jailed, forced to eat through tubes in their noses and smashed windows in parliament and gov. buildings to have the right to vote and work. I guess, I am biased to that generation that grew OUT of the 1950's mother's because I often see them (NOT ALL OF THEM SO DON"T BE UPSET ANYONE) as having this attitude that they somehow OWN feminism and their word on it is gospel, while really many of them were merely spending their parents money at university to only go against a norm that was set due to drug culture and popularity. I know there was a lot of sexism then but there is a particular woman I know from this generation and her friends ( a parent of a friend of ours) who is the type to say 'a wiggle dress is like wearing a prison statement to a woman' yet this woman was into free love/hippie when she had her children (our friend) then became a psychologists, pumped her children full of every drug available for whatever she thought fit and then when her kids became teens suddenly wanted them to live a restricted life, she herself did not live. And yet, if a woman than CHOOSES a role of stay at home, thinks she is a slave. I don't think we here (well speaking for myself) are against 60'70s feminism, I just think we need to reevaluate it and say we need equal rights in voting, money, land ownership, pay etc but that our clothes and choice to have a bond with a man that might put both involved into 'roles' is not bad if it is done so with choice and common sense. I mean SOMEONE has to make a home, either man or woman, or society cannot be what we once liked it will continue to be more lady gaga and less Leave it to beaver.
    I do agree, that women my age in my circle don't always think I am silly staying home, but sometimes I do get the 'look' that seems to say I am just 'playing about' while they get on with 'real life'. But, I don't care, per se, because I do what I feel is right for me and hubby and I don't care if people stare at me in my clothes etc, but I do feel that a certain level of 'selfishness' was born out of the 60/70's that is part of our now collective conscious of this nation that has lead us to many of our problems in business, social mores', dress, human value, and personal and communal responsibility, if that makes any sense.

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  10. Just wanted to say one more thing regarding talent/performing issue: there are plenty of very talented singers ( and dancers) around today. At times, the Broadway stages are full of them; not forgetting to mention Radio City Music Hall.
    One of the most important bits of information about homemaking that seems to not be understood, is that it is a PARTNERSHIP designed to produce a very particular way of life. BOTH partners work; merely in different arenas to produce a quality of life that benefits BOTH partners as well as the family unit. The homemaker (female or male) earns their share of the family income. Also, there were good marriages/partnerships and healthy family units in the 1950's. Dianne

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  11. One more comment regarding the talent/performing issue: there are many very talented singers (and dancers) today. At times, the Broadway stages are full of them, not to forget Radio City Music Hall.

    There is one piece of information regarding homemaking that is often not understood. It is a PARTNERSHIP designed to produce a very particular way of living. BOTH partners work; merely in different arenas. The homemaker (female or male) EARNS their share of the family income; both partners BENEFIT. Also, just as there are bad marriages today, there were bad marriages in the 1950's. But there were also good marriage/partnerships that created a pleasant worthwhile life for both as well as creating a healthy family environment. Dianne

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  12. A small comment: Your statement of "Someone from 1955 would laugh if you told them you paid money to wear a shirt that advertises the company from which you bought it" made me think of the movie Back to the Future, where the character Lorraine finds the unconcious character Marty McFly, and calls him Calvin Klein, because that whas what was printed on his underwear. It makes me wonder and chase down rabbit holes in thought...would my grandmother have mistaken me as Ms. Guc-- or Ms. Coa-- for the bags that are so popular in mass society these days? Perhaps I shall ask her.

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  13. Sorry TWO of my comments came through!!!! Dianne

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  14. to your friend's mother, that wiggle dress probably has some of the same symbolic value that the thong-clad rumpshakers in most music videos have to us.

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  15. Just as her bra burning has to me. I guess perhaps the division of the generations just have an odd contrast of sorts. Sometimes it is hard to meet eye to eye, but as long as we agree that women should be allowed to choose either path and that the path of the home,if chosen and equally allocated, is valid. I am sure there are plenty of 'feminists' who would think it fine, don't you?

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  16. ...Great post 50sGal and interesting comments too.

    A quote from "What Women Never Hear" blogspot No 863 03/16/2010 from Mrs Guy -

    "As women go, so goes society. If not to your liking, we can change it, and it starts with each of us."

    That's a happy thought.

    Linda

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  17. I'm going to have to disagree with you about Lady Gaga, 50s gal! Most people that only see a video or two of her think they she's only a pop tart, but she is far from it. She writes her own songs and has an amazing voice. Her style of music is dance.

    Even though she displays sexuality in her videos, she does not take herself seriously and sort of laughs at it. She's very in control of her career, as opposed to Britney Spears. She's influenced by Queen and David Bowie among others. I think her different outfits are fun and different.

    I personally think she's a breath of fresh air and I love her songs. I know I'm in the minority here though!!

    In the 50's, there were also sexy "role models" like Marilyn Monroe. Sure she dressed better than today's young girls, but it was still sexual.

    I'm not saying all of this is right, but smart people won't get influenced by these music videos and only state them as entertainment. I sure didn't dress like Britney or Christina during my young years!

    suspiria_two: Tori Amos is my favorite! I love her a lot!!

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  18. actually housewife07-if you reread my post you will see that I actually say she has a good voice, is anti-fame and is very talented.I was just pointing out that much of her 'in your face' atitude, which I know is ironic on her part, is not always seen that way by her fans and wondered what 'responsibility' she should have in that regards and also was curious how her performance would be if she did NOT have to be overtly sexual. I am rather fond of some of her outfits as well, as often her clothes have a very stylish appeal, its the fishnet stocking with no panties and taped breasts I am not overtly fond of. So, really my post was, is it good is it bad? Would she express herself differently if we did NOT have to be so IN YOUR FACE in the modern world just to get noticed?! I also like Tori amos, tough I have not heard her since 1955

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  19. I did read your posts and I should have clarified that I agree with you that she has talent!

    I didn't like her at first until hubby told me more about her, and I got it. I'm not fond of overly sexualized videos either, I think it's getting repetitive. But again, I feel she's different than the others.

    A lot of her fans would love to hear her sing ballads, as she has the voice for it.

    I don't know if she would have expressed herself differently if videos were not made this way, probably! But again, performers play roles not themselves, and her fans have to be smart enough to know that. Just like actresses will play nude.

    Christina Aguilera did come from horrible extreme sensuality in her songs to retro diva with her good voice, so there is hope that the youth will like this genre again, just as Michael Buble is currently popular!

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  20. A lot of Tori Amos' songs are controversial, even though her videos aren't, unlike Lady Gaga's latest video: the song is superficial but the video is more over the top. Tori is able to express her lyrics in a softer way, but still pretty out there.

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  21. That is true. I like to hear things that make it seem we can make a choice to move a direction that I feel is more 'smart' or 'art for purpose and not just for shock value'. Maybe she will take that direction in the end.

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  22. As the mother of teenagers I think the key to not letting these music video stars have too much influence is to expose your children to lots of styles of music. In our home we play all styles of music both on CDs, vinyl records and the piano, violin,trombone, trumpet, saxophone and guitar. Because the children have learned to play instruments and also because the school they go to has a very strong music programme they appreciate 'good music' from all genres. We listen to and respect each others music choices. I do discourage watching music video programmes because for the most part they seem to be full of really badly produced film clips and seem to be quite ugly with gratuitous amounts of female flesh thrown in most often not in context with the song. We mostly listen to and make music rather than watch music ( and music videos) - a much better way to appreciate and enjoy and feel energised by music rather than being fed often low budget seamy images or just plain unimaginative images. A good music video can be a work of art just like a short film but most aren't. Music videos in general seem to make music a passive experience rather then a joyous or soulful experience

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  23. Regarding the side-by-side comparison of the modernly dressed woman and the women at the market...I just can't help it (sorry) but my thoughts turn to dry cleaning.

    When I see those 1950s (wool?) suits, I imagine their built-in satin linings (which are fine)... and then find myself thankful about more agreeable materials.

    Informal cotton dresses from the 50s would be more for me--wash and hang on the line.

    However, I surely appreciate the look of the smart suits rather than the "mature" model showing her belly. I feel embarrassed for her.

    I'm not young at all, but can't help but feel sad for middle aged women who aren't OK with their aging selves. Time affects all of us--why fight it??

    Oh, and I must comment about those manly outfits the satellite TV commercial women wear. Of course, to each his own...but they seem to be uniforms because every spokeswoman has the same "look." Why? Blah.

    Kris

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  24. I'm pretty sure Madonna was the pioneer in sexual music videos and in my opinion Lady Gaga (although a better singer) just seems to be a modern copy. Shock value gets you noticed and it's proven by the fact that everyone is talking about her, whether people like her or not. My mom is almost 60 and knows who she is! I hope she heads down the same path as Christina, but one never knows. I'm not a fan and not because I'm a prude, but because I already lived through this genre as a teen and I'm bored with it.

    As far as the lady in the belly shirt.... not a fan of that either. I don't care if you have rock hard abs or not, I don't want to see it on a mid-aged woman or even my teenage daughter for that matter. I think it looks trashy. I personally wear jeans, so I'm not against those, but I do think there's a time and place to wear them and certainly not with a too short tee. It's the same as showing the back of your thong in low-riders to me.

    rue

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  25. I agree Rue that Madonna started all of this, enabling Britney and Christina to be more sexual in their videos. She also used a lot of Marilyn Monroe images. But it also backfired on her when she wrote her sex book and people had enough.

    Perhaps I'm just too used to seeing these videos to be shocked anymore! I'm more of a deep music fan like Tori, Sarah McLachlan, and have been discovering swing and swingers lately. Lady Gaga is really the only pop singer I enjoy, for whatever reason! Hopefully she'll tone it down a bit in the future.

    I agree that middle aged women should dress their age!! I've been seeing a lot of women in their 50s and 60s where I live that dress like teenagers and want to hang out with young people. They also don't have anything interesting to say in a conversation! I much prefer women that dress classy and offer much needed wisdom to this 28-year old that I am!

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  26. Housewife07 and Suspiria...another Tori fan here! :) I'm not familiar with a lot of Lady Gaga's music because I don't listen to top 40 radio stations, but it's nice to know someone is making playing the piano somewhat cool again.

    As to the controversial "telephone" video, I haven't seen it yet, but I did read that the er....body search bit at the beginning was LG's response to ridiculous rumors that she's a hermaphrodite. *shrug*

    I have to admit I don't understand what kind of statement she's trying to make with some of her crazy getups - and I think she's intelligent enough for the statement to be something more than just overt sexuality - but perhaps I'm not artsy enough to get it.

    I don't think performers these days are being outrageous and over the top in order to shock and attract attention, I think it's because that is what's expected now. That if they don't do that kind of stuff, no one (no one being the target audience, teens and young adults) will pay any attention to them. I do think that there isn't anywhere left for the envelope to be pushed, unless they just start walking out on stage buck naked! Probably isn't too far away...

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  27. A few tidbits about Lady Gaga - she had an extremely successful career as a songwriter for MANY big-time bands and singers before embarking on her own career as a pop star. I have very little interest in or respect for most current pop music - I'm 24, so I was a teenager during the Britney Spears and Nsync phase, and didn't think much of the stuff as music, though admittedly some of it's fun and catchy. I thought Lady Gaga was just another processed and produced pop star clone, but then looked a little closer.

    Her music is undeniably catchy, danceable pop - but so was plenty of music in the 1950s. There were plenty of lyrics just as inane. And if you take a look at music that was outside of the heavily censored media sources of radio, television, and film, some of it was shockingly risque - like, for instance, a great deal of 1950s rhythm and blues, which was the immediate predecessor to rock and roll, and continued alongside it and intermixed with it.

    We are now often unaware or under-aware of the, well, seedy underbelly, of times past, because the media sources were censored. I don't know about everyone else, but I am personally opposed to censorship under most circumstances (by all means let's keep bomb-building instructions somewhere away from angry middle-schoolers). There are also factors of change over time that I think many people, such as conservatively inclined vintage enthusiasts, fail to recognize. Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner were shocking and horrifying to conservative parents of teenage girls. Elvis was seen as a genuine threat to the children of the nation. In exactly the same way that someone like Eminem or 50 Cent has been talked about in recent years.

    Personally, I acknowledge that there is a distinct difference between hip-shaking to party-enthusiastic, somewhat suggestive music, and lyrics that truly glorify violence and hard drugs.

    My point isn't that things were 'just as bad' then as now, or anything like that - just that it's important to understand that attitudes about violence, sex, drugs, commercialism, fashion, glamour, etc. all change over time, sometimes in a cyclical way. And it's even more complicated than that: while the colonial Puritans were micro-managing the lives of their communities, back in Europe bisexuality was quite acceptable in 17th century aristocratic circles, at least for men.

    Back to Lady Gaga, and then I swear I'll stop writing, I want to point out that she is bisexual and has an extremely diverse, albeit generally young, mass of followers. Straight men, gay men, lesbians, straight women - and presumably the various permutations of identity that don't fall into those strict binaries. If she was simply pandering to one population with her 'girl-on-girl action,' it wouldn't be very likely to fly with the others. Katy Perry's pandering is widely rejected by the gay community, for example.

    Lady Gaga plays with sexuality and gender and commercialism itself - rather than simply 'being sexy.' I certainly don't think that the video for Telephone would be appropriate for a young teenager to watch, but I certainly don't have a problem with it existing, and I would absolutely call it art. There is a point to what she does - more than one point - and I respect that. I think also that it's incredibly unfair to accuse every woman who is frankly sexual of pandering to men. Much of it is, certainly, but there needs to be room for female sexual expressiveness without such massive criticism from other women.

    Just a perspective from my weird in between place - most people would call me liberal but here at my liberal college I'm seen as freakishly conservative, and not just because of the 1950s clothes. Balance is a difficult thing to manage.

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  28. Ava-I actually agree with alot of what you are saying. I also do NOT want to have things be controlled or censored. I think, what has really struck me (much as the art world did with my background in Art history) is that today the shock value or the need to be contrary for contradictions sake has a sort of hollow tone to me. That is to say, yes we may be 'shocked' by Gaga's video, but at the heart of it she is an artist (I believe) and yet her art suffers, as I feel much modern art suffers, for the lack of depth. There is a sort of 'milk scum' I call it to modern expressive art. You know the whole 'installation' art movement, yes, it can have a great impact at the moment, you might stand in a large museum space and there are large pieces of fabric, or food smeared to 'represent' some aspect of society. I like that art CAN mirror society and in many ways helps drive it, but I guess I just feel modern society (and really it has begun this progression FROM the 1950's)has so much 'milk scum' that there is no depth. There is no true heartfelt response (from me) when things only stand to 'shock' or to seem 'contrary'. In some ways I just feel like saying, "Yes, we get it. We all have sexual freedom. We can say and do what we like. Done, great. Now, what do we have to actually SAY.?" I also really felt that the telephone video made me sad for all the OBVIOUS product placements. I watched it all the way through. From the Virgin Mobile phone, the Diet coke cans, the Dating site (can't remember what it was called something about fish in the sea) etc. In her attempt to show up FAME and that sort of lifestyle, has she not encouraged it and even glamorized it more? Now, she can do what she likes. I also think, as an artist, she is talented, only I feel our socitey is such that many 'talents' have to become coroporate examples of 'art'. Not sure if any of this is making sense. It was not about one Artist per se, more about the state of our society from an artistic standpoint. I know that sexuality was very open for many centuries. It was really the middle class that sort of set the rules or followed the guidelines of overall 'good behavior' even the Edwardians were notorious for bed hopping. I guess, after looking back so long (even further than the 1950's) I feel, with all the ease and comfort the modern world has made us, we have become more empty or expect less from our art and entertainment. I was not even surprised by the Telephone video, as it was rather expected of a pop star. Had it had a different bend or even played out in some other way, than I would have been surprised. But, who am I, anyway? Really. Lady Gaga will go on to make billions, many teens and tweens will want to emulate her in fashion not understanding the 'irony' of her message and I will have my little voice which 2 or 3 people may hear. So, really, maybe art has become who gets it out there and how many see it.

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  29. I just love when you compare photos of now and then, it is truly an eye-opener! The lady at the left in the green shirt would look nice if she changed the low waited jeans to a nice skirt, or just “normal” waist-lined jeans, but a skirt would make her body look nicer.

    This Saturday I was wearing black jeans and pink cardigan, since I was cleaning. My SIL called me and asked if I would visit her for a crocheting course, I hopped into a pair of pink sneakers and went over to her (after having cleaning most of my house). We had a cosy time crocheting, and suddenly DH showed up, he had to air his new motorcycle. We agreed on dining out together, and I felt bad about my clothes, but sitting at the café I realized I looked much better than most of the other guest. If I knew we were going out to dine, I had put on a skirt, high heeled, lipstick and jewellery – so little effort, such a great difference indeed. I will not wear hat and gloves in public, only for parties, but I am becoming fond of my vintage white gloves. :) So never say never.

    Great post as always! Have a lovely Easter, dear. :)

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  30. Has anyone purchased Lady Gaga Tickets from the website http://lady-gaga-tickets.doitbigtickets.com/

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