Lady Gaga: Gender in “Love Game”
Justine Burke Professor Adigweme Rhetoric 10:03:145 9/24/10 Lady Gaga: Gender in “Love Game” Many artists today are always trying to be somebody they are not.Their costumes are getting bigger and crazier than ever.One artist that exceptionally stands out in the crowd of performing artists is Lady Gaga.
Every costume she wears, every move she makes becomes more epic every time she is seen. Most of the costumes she wears hide her identity and it is unknown who she is really trying to be.
In “Love Game,” Lady Gaga’s gender is being questioned by the lyrics and image of the frame, by the subjectiveness in the video, by tweaking others’ work into hers, how the clothing and lighting give symbols to her gender, and who she is ultimately trying to be. Gender is a huge question in the text of this song. According to the lyrics and image of this frame, Lady Gaga is playing her love game with her candidates. They are in a dirty subway station with the lights of two trains behind them illuminating the frame.
Gaga is clearly the center of attention where everyone wants to win her over. She wants to know if the “subject” who could be male or female, will actually like her for her, or if the subject just wants the fame. When it is said “Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick,” the energized dancing and the careless crotch grabbing in the choreography shows that Lady Gaga and her subjects are simply having fun dancing to the beat.
With the words “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick,” would normatively be seen as a woman’s line, but if Lady Gaga is playing the gender game in her video, like she is in the middle of the video by kissing both a male and a female, then she could ultimately be a male speaking that line to another male. Gaga indicates her subject to be a male with the line “guess he wants to play. ” She doesn’t want to get too emotionally close with this man because she’s still not sure if he’s going for her love or with her game of touching and kissing and sex for the fame. No matter what Gaga’s subjects are searching for, whether it is love or fame, they are dancing very subjective towards her. They all want to win her over as she is letting them dance on and around her anyway they want. The men are suggestive towards her by grinding on her, giving her suggestive looks, and by chasing her. Lady Gaga shows this by wearing very little clothing, twirling her hair around, and letting the men dance and grind on her. A lot of the main choreography symbolizes Michael Jackson’s work. * Lady Gaga seems to symbolize others’ work a lot.
Such as Grace Jones’ work. Grace Jones is a model, actress, and a singer/performing artist. When comparing the outfits she used to wear to the outfits Lady Gaga wears today, she clearly seems to be copying Grace Jones. Jones said, “I’ve seen some things she’s worn that I’ve worn, and that does kind of piss me off. ” (Hattenstone). Lady Gaga also follows in the footsteps and appears to be copying actresses such as: Brigette Helm, Beyonce, and Madonna by wearing an outfit that symbolizes the Maschinenmensch in her video “Telephone. * Even though Gaga is always being accused of copying others’ work we have to respect her for what she does as music lovers. Lady Gaga is not copying older artists, she is being unique, tweaking great ideas that have not been touched in years, putting her swag on them, and making old idea’s into new and improved ideas. Lady Gaga says, “I eat, sleep, breathe, and bleed every inch of my work” (Vicks). This is clearly what Gaga does and proves that she loves every aspect of what she does and that is the kind of dedication one must have in order to be a performing artist.
She clearly could not be working any harder at this point in her life as she is continuously making number one hits such as: “Alejandro,” “Love Game,” “Bad Romance,” “Paparazzi,” “Poker Face,” and “Telephone. ” * One aspect in her hit “Love Game,” in this frame Lady Gaga is wearing a different color top than everyone around her and is in the center of the formation. This indicates from the text that it is her game and everyone else wants to win her over hoping to play the game with her. All of her performers are wearing dark clothes though.
This indicates dirtiness and impurity. Another costume effect is that one of Gaga’s dancers and herself are wearing a small symbol of an SS Soldier uniform within their outfits. Often in video’s, performers act to be someone they are not. They personally do not have any connections with the Nazi’s, but they are indicating and symbolizing that they are trying to be someone they are not. For instance, Lady Gaga makes us question her gender in this video. Not knowing this information shows that her gender s unknown. * If something is unknown it is put in the dark, like a mystery. The low lighting in the frame symbolizes the mystery of Lady Gaga’s gender and who she is trying to be in this video. The darkness also symbolizes the dirty and impure subway. Now that it is the end of the video and she has been through the subway she is impure and the darkness symbolizes this. These men are druggie type of men whom are stereotypically looking for specific things, like women and drugs, all for their pleasure.
There are many different types of subjects in the world and this is where Gaga chooses to look for her subject. The light that is shining through is simply used to illuminate the dancers. Or, it also symbolizes more trains coming for the game to start all over again. * Subways are dark places at night and there can be isolated groups of people in them. Lady Gaga and her subjects are the only ones at the subway station and there is no one else around, like their own little group. This is a perfect opportunity for Gaga to choose her sexuality and the person she wants all to herself.
Since there are so many different types of subjects and groups of people found at a subway station, Gaga could ultimately choose to be just like one of those people she may see. She can be whoever she wants. She chooses to be a male with the dance move she is performing. * There are so many different kinds of people in the world, especially in one of the biggest cities in America, New York City. This is where many subway stations are located that people hear about and have never used that aren’t from NYC.
There are any type of persons and groups there such as: male, female, straight, queer, bisexual, performer, dancer, gang member, business man, student, etc. There are many different things in life that can veer someone to become any person they want to be and to choose their identity by. The norm at a place like this is to be different, unlike in a smaller city. It is a perfect place for the film to be shot. Even if this video was not shot in New York City, it still represents a place like it and all the identities that are found there.
This is where the ultimate question falls. Who is Lady Gaga trying to be and who is she supposed to be? * Lady Gaga’s gender in this frame at the end of the video has turned into an impure male symbol. This identity is becoming more of a norm in society today, that is, homosexuality. This is what she is representing. Gaga is trying to make what isn’t normal in society, what isn’t safe, what isn’t in people’s comfort zone, what is completely outside of the box, and wants to make it the norm. She wants to make it all okay things to be and she is the one doing it.
With this said Lady Gaga is one of the main artists that definitely stands out in the crowd. This makes her be able to do whatever she wants and not care how much she gets judged. There was uncertainty about her identity in “Love Game,” but now it is analyzed who she is. * * * * * * * * *
Works Cited * Hattenstone, Simon “Grace Jones: ‘God I’m scary. I’m scaring myself’” The Guardian (2010) * Vicks, Meghan “The Icon and the Monster: Lady Gaga is a Trickster of American Pop Culture” Gaga Stigma: Critical Writings and Art About Lady Gaga (2010)