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Lady Gaga bares it all once again, as usual. This time, however, she is showing off her body for a good cause.
In vulnerable, barefaced, glitterless photos that she snapped and released herself last week, Gaga kicked off her “Body Revolution” campaign wearing a lacy yellow thong. The pop star, through her views and hits such as “Born This Way,” has proven over the years that she is an advocate for fearlessly embracing who you are. However, in light of her recent weight gain, Gaga has decided to take on the idea of body acceptance and will use this campaign to support those who struggle with body image.
However, her message of acceptance is problematic. In many ways it is fundamentally contradictory to the image she creates in her own career and in these campaign photos.
While “Body Revolution” says you should be loved no matter what you look like and that even flaws are beautiful, Gaga’s undoctored images still conform to stereotypical beauty – thin, long-haired, sexy (thong!) and white girl traits. Lady Gaga is only able to challenge the norms of society by subscribing wholly to its ideals. She seems to fight the status quo by dressing in bizarre costumes and speaking in an affected manner. Yet, when was the last time you saw Gaga wear a pair of pants? And how often do you see her clad in nothing more than a bra and a g-string?
It is contradictory that this woman, who many consider an ideal American beauty, is creating a campaign as a response to her own weight gain. She is still much skinnier than many women, including many who she invites to post their own photos and speak out. If she considers her body flawed, how does this make the average American woman feel about her body?
Yet, we all exist within this society – even Gaga. This fact carries with it a certain notion of what beauty should be. Perhaps by subscribing to that ideal, while also challenging it, Gaga realizes that she can help the “Little Monsters” of the world. By conforming in some ways, she is already embraced by the society she means to change. Gaga’s blonde hair and sexualized body gave her the chance to create a community for people who feel like outcasts to those ideals. Without the mass success of her original image, this may have never been possible.
The importance of having a community for people who struggle with body image cannot be overstated. So few of us are skinny, blonde and highly sexual creatures. This means that many of us are constantly overwhelmed by trying to adhere to such ideals. While working within the constructs of society, Gaga has created a space for people to feel accepted for who they are and for what they’ve got. After all, we all participate in the same society. And if Gaga helps people make the best of it through this “Body Revolution,” then we should all stand behind her – glitter, blonde wig and all.
Contact CU Independent Feminism Columnists Becky Powell at Becky.email@example.com and Mira Winograd at Mira.firstname.lastname@example.org.