I can’t deny it any longer. Lady Gaga is, against all odds, a role model for girls.
Lady Gaga takes herself very (very) seriously. When I first listened to interviews of her, I was put off by her nasally monotone and unchanging expression. She does not giggle or smile. In short, she does not make the interviewer’s job easy.
Once I overcame my discomfort, I could appreciate what she was saying.
In a world where girls speak every statement as a question, second guess themselves in class and have trouble saying what they are good at, it is extremely refreshing to hear a woman talk about how she knows she is awesome.
And, admittedly, she is very talented. Ms. Gaga is one of a few popular singers who writes her own songs, plays instruments and sings live. She has unapologetically high ambitions of elevating pop music to an art form.
Why Lady Gaga Is A (Good) Role Model For Girls
Lady Gaga is proof positive that it is hard for serious women to appear likeable. But I admire her willingness to forgo being America’s sweetheart in favor of being serious about herself as an artist. Since middle school, I have watched my friends turn into bubblegum pink, squeaky voiced, hair-twirling versions of themselves when around boys or more popular girls. I believe this behavior is a way of assuring the socially powerful that they need not feel threatened. After all, we are just little girls with cute widdle girl thoughts and a simple wimple girl brain.
Just as she does not seem to be concerned with being friendly, Lady Gaga’s sense of fashion is fabulously consumer unfriendly. She is known for her outlandish costumes both on and off stage and, ostensibly, her dislike of pants. I love that she dresses for herself. And in dressing for herself, she doesn’t wear a lot.
Lady Gaga does not, by any means, fit the bill of conventional beauty. She is not particularly pretty or thin yet she is frequently seen in little more than underwear. Lady Gaga seems to have a surplus of confidence while working in an industry that is so toxic, girls who merely view the products of it have low self-esteem.
I also admire that, in all of the interviews I’ve read or watched, she doesn’t talk about her body. Unlike other celebrities who are fond of sharing their diet and workout tips, and proliferating the notion that the “ideal” body is just one squat away, she doesn’t talk about her body. Her physical appearance is, as it should be, less important than her music.
I love that Lady Gaga is not afraid to be weird. As I explained in my blog about Halloween costumes, teenage girls have a hard time being goofy. Remaining cozy and nestled between the Os of “cool” feels safe. Venturing beyond our narrow definition of cool isn’t easy when, as a girl, you’re pretty sure everyone is watching and judging you at all times. Lady Gaga thinks outside of the box and lives outside of those double Os.
From her crazy hair to the odd visuals of her music videos, she does whatever the crack she wants. And what she wants to do is be weird. But paradoxically, because she is so un-cool, Lady Gaga is….cool. She is an oxymoron; the jumbo shrimp of coolness. If that’s not reason enough to view her as a role model, I don’t know what will convince you people.
Her name in itself is a lesson for girls. There’s nothing wrong with being a Lady. Many of the pressures girl face (the pressure to do well in school, have lots of friends, be polite) are great goals to aspire to in moderation. There is nothing wrong with wanting to avoid conflict, but that code of conduct should not be an absolute that stunts the maturation of healthy relationships.
While being a lady is an admirable pursuit, is important not to forget to act gaga every once in a while. Some moments call for impromptu dance breaks, improvised songs or uncontrollable giggling. Striking a balance between daintiness and craziness is like discovering the perfect ratio of macaroni to cheese, delicious.
While I’m not a fan of some of her hypersexual lyrics and her use of images of injured women, there are (at least) five good reasons to consider the lady a good role model for girls. She isn’t afraid to act smart, dress for herself, focus on things other than her body, be odd, and have a sick name. And last but not least, Lady Gaga recently told a reporter, “I’m getting the sense that you’re a little bit of a feminist, like I am, which is good.”
Lilly is a high school senior and guest blogger for RachelSimmons.com. Read more about her here.