Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lady Gaga on the Wings of Queen Elizabeth I and Catholicism

Lady Gaga cracked the science of how to become a worldwide Icon. Whether you like her music or not, you cannot deny that she has created an image for herself that is already cemented in celebrity and music history. One way in which she did this was that she elevated herself to be more than just a talented human woman; but something else more divine. In this blog I'm going to compare The Gaga's fame tactics to those of Queen Elizabeth I and Catholicism. Yes, I know it sounds strange, especially considering that the Queen was protestant and that Gaga constantly debases Catholicism but just stay with me here. I'm sick of everyone comparing Lady Gaga to Madonna, but the fact is that she was influenced by some much older sources of fame and power.

Although she enjoys sex and happiness, as of recently, she decides that she cannot find both within the arms of a man. In an interview with an editor from Vanity Fair, she tells her,

“I have never felt truly cherished by a lover. I have an inability to know what happiness feels like with a man,” the singer tells contributing editor Lisa Robinson. “I say this honestly, and this is my new thing as of the past year: when I fight with someone I’m in a relationship with, I think, what would my fans think if they knew this was happening? How would they feel about my work and about me as a female if they knew I was allowing this to go on? And then I get out.”

In the article, she explains how relationships make her doubtful and self-conscious and distracted from her true person, because she often dates artsy people who are competitive and jealous of her talents which leads to cutting her down and other confidence harming arguments. So what she does instead of marry herself to the idea of love and marriage is that she views herself and her fans as her spouse and she pledges everything she does to her relationship with her fans... her talents and devotions and happiness. She calls her fans as her "Little Monsters", like a pet name you could give your boyfriend, and makes clear in interviews and the lyrics of her songs that all of her energy goes into pleasing them.

By staying single and creating this image of herself being not merely a human with relationship issues slapped on the cover of every magazine, but as some sort of saintly artist, she becomes more of a mystery. She serves herself rather than a man.

The first woman that comes to mind when I think of her is not Madonna like most people, but Queen Elizabeth I, the virgin queen. She remained unmarried for her entire life, which of course was a much bigger deal then than it is today. At her coronation she donned in all white and let her red hair down and loose over her shoulders to suggest her virginity and purity. She pledged herself to be queen over the people to govern and serve them rather than a man. She became something more than just a woman or a queen, she became a king, in a sense.

There are several reasons that Elizabeth tactically chose to remain single, and her people loved her for it. If she had married than her would have to serve her husband and be dutiful to he and his influences before the people. She actually used her unmarried state to benefit the country by using the concept marriage to various people to forge alliances and frighten foes. Her devotion to England was clear and she was loved so much for it that even though some power hungry members of the court wished to remove her from power her outstanding popularity prevented. Lady Gaga's devotion to her fans is also just as clear.

Now I’m not saying that marriage and love is bad, and I’m not saying that you cannot be both married and successfully happy, but for some people and some situations, this is not possible. I think that Lady Gaga knows herself and realizes that relationships weaken her rather than strengthen her, just as Queen Elizabeth I knew that she was a stronger person when unmarried.

Yes, she probably did get a lot of icon and fame ideas from Madonna, from the extreme clothes to the racey Christian references. One can easily compare Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” to Gaga’s “Judas”. But quite honestly, so many people have made the Madonna/Gaga comparison that it’s not worth our time to go into it deeper and frankly not nearly as interesting!

Instead I’d like to delve into how Catholicism has influenced her. I can relate to her in the fact that we both had a Catholic upbringing and both chose to denounce it, and it is clear in a lot of her lyrics and music videos that she is Catholicism had an effect on who she is today even if it was negative. She often wears crosses and other Christian symbols in videos and public.

I think she might have gotten a lot of her ideas of how to become more than just a woman and a singer to her fans from her old religion. Staying single and devoting your life to the service of others is definitely a saintly idea. If a woman becomes a nun she becomes a Bride of Christ and marries the Church. The Church itself is also sometimes called The Bride of Christ. And I think that Lady Gaga may have been influenced by these ideas to transcend beyond normal human experiences and “Marry the Night”, marry her fans and her work, to become something more than human. She admits that her song "Marry the Night" is autobiographical, and delves into her pain and hurt and resolve when it comes to relationships and self.

It's clear that she tries to spread messages of love and acceptance in her songs such as "Born this Way". I'm guessing she had a negative response to the way Catholics view homosexuality amongst other things and that she uses her recognized influence to spread a different messages of love and acceptance than the ones she was brought up with. She took what she knew, and altered it.

The recipes for fame, fortune, everything are all there in history. Humans change so drastically over the years but at their core, we are very much constant, with the same themes repeating. I think Lady Gaga knew this, whether consciously or unconsciously, and performed her way in the footsteps of others to fame.