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 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.
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.
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.