I have heard people say that Lady Gaga is this generation’s Madonna.
Regarding the music, Lady Gaga seems to shine when she’s singing and also when she’s sitting at the piano. Madonna’s vocal range is fairly limited and I don’t think she can play an instrument.
But where fashion is concerned—take a seat, Gaga. Madonna got you beat.
Madonna has always been an icon of style. When she first burst onto the scene in the early 80‘s, her timing was perfect. We were ripe. Madonna brought with her an unfamiliar sound and an effortless look that mixed just the right amount of edge and femininity.
Madge helped shape an entire generation of girls, myself included. I spent many mornings searching for my black pencil skirt so I could throw it on over a pair of lace leggings. From there I would carefully layer a mesh top over one or two tanks and then I’d accessorize with pearl and beaded necklaces until the back of my neck itched.
Of course, I added one of my many Borderline video hair bows and although I skipped the black bra (because really, who was I kidding) I rarely left my room without lining my arms with approximately one zillion black rubber bracelets— and if I felt that I didn’t have enough on, I supplemented with the black rubber bands from our vacuum cleaner. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t rock the Cross earrings, but the whole “being Jewish” thing kind of got in the way.
Lady Gaga also came on the scene at a time when music needed an adrenaline shot. Her raw talent and vocals were a welcome alternative to the tired, predictable beats that seem to penetrate almost every song currently getting air play.
Her look, however, has me a little confused. It seems that almost every time I see her, I find myself asking the same question:
What is that about?
True, Madonna has had moments of controversial fashion choices, but for the most part her style has always remained admirable and accessible. Of course, it is not Lady Gaga’s job, anymore than it was Madonna’s job, to dress in a way that influences her fans and followers. We don’t even know for sure if Lady Gaga wants to be compared to Madonna—though I have to imagine early on in her career it didn’t hurt, and it maybe even helped.
The thing is, Lady Gaga is now an established artist with her feet planted firmly in the Billboard charts and her music downloaded into iPODS everywhere, which leads me to my next question:
I read somewhere that Gaga claims she was considered a “freak” in high school. That had to hurt. In my experience, I have found that people who aren’t comfortable with who they are generally don’t embrace it with uniqueness, but instead they hide it with some sort of outrageousness—and that is what I think she is doing. I think she is hiding behind her various looks and playing it off as “avant garde.” I think she is intentionally pointing to her ensembles so we don’t see her.
You know what else I think? I think camp would have been a good place for Lady Gaga. If Gaga had gone to overnight camp (probably any camp, but preferably ours) she would have risen to exactly where she is with self awareness outlining her persona instead of ridiculousness.
We have all kinds at camp: Freaks, geeks, clowners, downers, talkers, gawkers, hotties and notties—and many of the kids are at a stage where they aren’t exactly comfortable with who they are. One of the truly special things about camp (and there are many) is that it helps kids find comfort in their own skin. They find that comfort because the people that surround them make them feel comfortable. Their respective personalities are not only accepted, but in many cases, celebrated. They’re all loved and they all have a place.
Campers live in close quarters and though some of their cabin mates may not be people they would have chosen to be friends with, let alone share space with—TOO BAD—they learn to live with them and appreciate them for all they have to offer. In turn, kids are accepted without prejudice and most every one of them leave here a little more confident and a little more self assured than they were when they first got off the bus.
Assuming that I’m right about Lady Gaga being uncomfortable in her own skin (and I might not be—but for the sake of this piece, let’s pretend that I am), I honestly believe if she had gone to overnight camp, she would have grown up to love herself for exactly who she is instead of continually shifting our focus to her facade. She would just BE. She would just be herself.
Whoever that is.
Thanks for being here!
Facebook : DimSumandDoughnuts
This one is just too deep for me… but it does make me want to come to camp where I can be accepted for who I am!
Noted. It is a deepie. I’m trying all different kinds of writing, but I have to admit this one took me awhile to write and re-write, so maybe I actually am as shallow as I think I am. 🙂 The deep stuff doesn’t come as easily to me.
Completely agree. Even my 5 year old, who has a stylin’ fashion sense said, “Eew, what is that? It looks like her skin is cracked and bleeding and yuck.”
I’m so grossed out right now by envisioning her skin that I think I might have to skip dessert, so I will thank you for grossing me out because I ate a ton of fudge today and yesterday and I really need to skip dessert. 🙂
Rumor is she is making a joke out of art rules. She is modern yet excepted in Pop Culture. (for those who don’t know art, Pop Art was rebelling against Modern Art)
I never even considered that she had an agenda. Hmm…very interesting. Thank you for that, Deb. Plus, I like rumors (as long as they’re not about me).
Interesting – I have thought about the parallels between Lady Gaga and Madonna (of course never contemplating the fashion angle – more about the musical impact) and there are a lot of similarities.
What you say about camp is so very true – I have spent a lot of time reviewing the photos that we took to select the ones to post. Some of the sweetest shots were of young campers on the laps of older campers – something that has been a tradition at Tanuga since I think the beginning of time. I know that Josi always has a gleam in her eye when recalling similar stories of when she was a camper. Connections are made at camp that would never be made outside of the camp environment and often those connections just seem to stand the test of time.
Can’t imagine Lady Gaga at camp but I would imagine that would have affected her path.
The “deep” post was kind of refreshing for a change…Still chuckling at points but it really gets you thinking.
See you in a few!!
This one took me awhile to write because it is important to me, so I appreciate your comments even more than usual. Plus, I know that you “get” camp life so I doubly appreciate it (if that isn’t a word, it is now). Can’t wait til you come back. Love when you guys are here. XOXOXOXO
That’s why it’s so great to go to a camp without all of your school friends from home. You can “be” your true self and not feel that pressure to “be” who you are not. People always say that their best friends in life are the ones they made at camp. I think that’s why, friendships made when you are being real, become real friendships.
“I think that’s why, friendships made when you are being real, become real friendships.”
All hail Madonna. Ahem. I think I dated myself. I think I still have those jelly bracelets. When I first saw sillybandz that was my first thought…
Anyhoo… regarding camp. I LOVED camp. I went to Camp Thunderbird and my memories of camp are some of my best from childhood. I love reading your posts about camp as they take me down memory lane. Those were the good days!
I love a trip down memory lane too (if you can’t tell by my Madonna ensemble description). So happy you like the camp stuff, there will be more, I”m sure since I’m here all summer. So happy to have you as a reader. Thank you, Suzanne!!!
Hazel M. Wheeler says
I really liked this.
I’ve never been to any sort of camp-away-from-home as a kid, so I appreciate your take on that whole “come as you are” vibe. Always wondered what it was like.
I also wonder if Ms Gaga is doing just what you said: a little self-protection and deflection. I’ve had the experience of receiving a negative review, and even though the reviewer was way off base on my intention within my work, I did end up feeling a bit publicly flayed. It’s almost protectively easier to let people believe their assumptions–and maybe even play into them–than to protest, lest we protest too much and someone decides to remove yet another layer of the epidermis.
Both Madonna and Lady Gaga are iconic women and work to center their reputations as being wholly different from everyone else, entirely individual and cutting-edge for their time, even as it marches onward. Both women change their images as needed and play to the audience, and I don’t get anything more than a fleeting wink at sincerity from either one. They have both taken their ‘selves’ and turned them into creations, extrapolations of self. Who they really are is of no concern to most people and they seem content to let us believe in who we think they are. Brilliant armor to face the fickle world entertainment world with.
So smart, as always. Having you as a reader makes me feel smart because I don’t think you would read if I was a dumbo. I’m curious what Lady Gaga’s next move is because I don’t know how long she’ll be able to pull this off. I would think it would get tiring and at some point she’s just going to want to wear jeans and a tank and smile. I guess we’ll just have to see. 🙂
Hazel M. Wheeler says
If you were a dumbo? Do you plan on sprouting outlandishly large ears and flying around a circus tent?
Thanks for thinking I’m so smart. I now have one more person in the world fooled…bwah ha ha ha!
Maybe Gaga went to Circus Camp and this is the act she came up with?
Good one. 🙂
I agree…gaga is plain weird & camp would have been perfect for her! In fact, I think she would be a huge star had she gone to Tanuga…not a b lister! I am counting on camp to boost my kids so high so they can take care of us at an early age!!! It all starts with confetti nails!
Confetti nails really are a good start. Gold glitter shoes don’t hurt though.
all i can say is gaga is gross and madge is a classic.
I like a girl who can summarize her feelings in one line.