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The Unsexiness of Lady Gaga

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
This week, the ubiquitously absurd Lady Gaga appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards. Well, actually, she didn't appear -- her alter ego, Jo Calderone, did. Calderone looked frighteningly hideous, with a large coif that looked a good deal like Elvis and a dark brooding look that looked a good deal like crystal meth. Overall, she strongly resembled Sal Mineo in "Rebel Without A Cause."

In her opening monologue, Gaga channeling Calderone said, "She left me! She said it always starts out good and then the guys -- meaning me, I'm one of the guys -- we get crazy. I did. I got crazy. But she's f---ing crazy too, right?" Apparently, Gaga as Calderone was telling fans that Gaga left Calderone. Got it?

Gaga reportedly prepared for her role by visiting the men's bathroom. Somehow, this was a blow for women's equality or same sex marriage or something. The gay world waits with baited breath for Chaz Bono's bean dinner to hit the colon.

But this stupidity wasn't even close to its inane conclusion. In introducing Britney Spears, Gaga as Calderon explained that she/he used to "touch herself" while gazing at posters of Spears (Presumably, she/he touched her prosthetic genitals, which she wore onstage.) "She is f---ing hot," said Gaga/Calderone. "Didn't you j--- off to Britney when you were a kid?" She then asked Spears for a kiss, which Spears -- unbelievably, the only sane person on the stage -- refused, explaining, "I've already done that." That comment was a reference to Spears' infamous make-out session with Madonna at the 2003 VMAs.

Here's the question: is any of this really groundbreaking? Cross-dressing is older than Bugs Bunny. "Some Like It Hot" played this card about fifty years ago. And yet the gay community has come out in celebration of Lady Gaga's bizarre antics. "I thought it was great," said John Polly, editor of Logo's pop culture blog (Logo is the network specifically targeted at gays and lesbians.) "Gender issues are often the most challenging for people, so I liked that she dove into it and stuck with it throughout the show." "There is barely any visibility for (female-to-male), drag kings and lesbians on television," babbled Murray Hill, a drag king and creator of Mr. Transman, a female-to-male competition. "For Lady Gaga, the biggest pop star in the world, to go on TV with millions of people watching in drag as a man and then to actually say 'lesbian and transgender' live is undeniably powerful and creates change."


It does create change for Lady Gaga to parade her calculated drek on national television. It creates change among adolescents who watch this nonsense and think that such behavior is acceptable. It creates change among parents who begin treating such behavior as "no big deal."

It even changes our perceptions of what is sexy and what is not. Us Magazine, which targets teenagers, called Gaga's faux come-on to Spears "sexy." But there is nothing sexy about Gaga's version of gender bending. In her androgynous style, she actually undercuts that which makes relations between the sexes interesting -- sexual dimorphism. Despite what more militant gay and lesbian advocates desperately wish, women and men have natural and inherent differences ranging from brain structure to body type. Destroy or obscure those differences, idealizing them as beautiful cookie cutter models of hermaphroditic coldness, and choice of partners becomes rather dull.

In the end, Lady Gaga's "groundbreaking" attempts to crossbreed femininity and masculinity create a very boring hybrid. She isn't Marilyn Monroe or even Madonna. She's turning into a mannequin with removable body parts. The more she changes society in her own likeness -- and there are certainly many "little monsters" who will imitate her -- the less interesting and diverse we become as a society.


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