Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Psychologist Takes a Look at Lady Gaga

Who is Lady Gaga and why do I care?

Boring is one of the words I would use about today’s onslaught of reality TV Shows, uninteresting music, and really bad movies or worse yet remakes of bad movies. Really, can we not come up with some new material? Therefore, when I first started seeing this bizarre woman show up on talk shows and heard her making some statements on behalf of the gay and lesbian community I began to take notice. There is nothing too predictable about the Lady Gaga, but there are some things for sure, she will not disappoint anyone who is looking for controversy or a fight. She says it like she means it and she seems to mean what she says. So who is this woman?

This woman was barely beyond the kid stage, when she started her journey to success. As noted by many, she climbed the ladder of success one rung at a time using her talent and desire. She had no family name, no reality show, or model status and no Lindsay Lohan tactics. In my opinion, she is by far one of the most intelligent entertainers we have seen in a long time. If you do not know her music, you know her for her meat dress, egg entry at the Grammy’s, or her blasphemous religious assertions, such as Jesus love everyone. Now face it she is creative, talented and clearly authentic. What you see is what you get. And sometimes it is raw.

From my studies in Affect Psychology, I have shared that the affect interest is one of the two positive affects. At first, I did not think much about Lady Gaga, but as I began to hear her take on real issues for the gay and lesbian community and immigration, I began to listen more closely. My interest peaked when I realized that Lady Gaga was taking on the Catholic Church and Christian religious issues. She created press when she did part of her show dressed as a nun and was exploitive of the certain Christian symbols such as the crucifix.

When Gaga came to Phoenix for the second time, I decided to go to her concert and see for myself just exactly who the young talented star is. My only regret is that I did not buy better tickets because I could not see as well as I thought I would be able to see, and I am determined to go again and continue the writing on this socially relevant entertainer. What are her religious statements about?

These statements can be viewed as profane or perhaps there is something else going on, something deeper, perhaps even relevant? I thought it best if I was going to write about her, I should experience her in concert. I wanted to explore her entertaining behavior from a psychological perspective. I thought that best to experience. I am a Christian and have sensitivity to how Jesus and the Gospel should be portrayed but then again unlike my fundamentalist friends, I love Jesus Christ Superstar. Any many of my religious friends are outraged at her less than sacred approach to Christianity. But then many of them are concerned about my sexual identity choices too. So what are these religious statements about that Gaga seems compelled to put into her act? I would love to do an exclusive interview but since that won’t be happening before this article goes to press, let me take psychological privilege to make some assumptions.

Let me start with the simple. Why the meat dress? From Gaga personally, "However, it has many interpretations, but for me this evening ... If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And I am not a piece of meat," she added, holding up the magazine cover. Read more:

I gather from that statement that standing up for what she believes in is part of her value system. I don’t hear many entertainers bring Jesus front and center to the stage, so why does she see it as relevant? She has taken heat for being profane, all the while stating that Jesus loves everybody. Is she mocking? I believe, if she stuck with what already has been done from a social relevance, such as the homeless, the addict, the ugly, the fat, the criminal, the intolerant or the insane she would be redundant. So, is it an attempt not being redundant? Why does she take the stage and shout through the microphone, “Jesus loves everyone.” Ah, it not so earth shattering, is it. Don’t we already know that? Isn’t that old news? Really? Oh, wait, she makes a comparison. She says Jesus is like Michael, her bi-sexual dancer. Michael loves everyone and Jesus loves everyone too. And again, deaf ears cannot hear the truth because it is veiled in the comparison to a bi-sexual dancer. And Americans are not comfortable with their own sexuality much less bi-sexuality. Was she calling Jesus a bi-sexual? Not necessarily. She was stating he loved everyone.

Now on to a few comments about the crucifix and her expressive sexual acts with religious symbols. I do not know her motive nor do I find any statements in the press about her personal religious views, but I will remind you that Matthew 18:6 says that “If anyone causes one of my little ones to stumble it is better for a millstone to be tied around their neck and that they be cast into sea.” So, perhaps Gaga is only stating the obvious, that religion in and of itself as it is today is a mockery. Priests and people, who call themselves Christians, abuse children, extort the poor; are caught in sexual and financial scams. We have failed to keep our own symbols sacred and hold them in respect by living lies well below the standard Christ set for us. So why do we get upset when Gaga takes the stage and places religious symbols in our face doing to them what is done to them on a daily basis behind closed doors?

Organized religion is not perfect nor do I think it can be. But it can take a moment and wonder why a twenty-five year old woman would want to make the statements she is making. Perhaps self-reflection and evaluation might bring a new spurt of salvation to those behind closed doors, perhaps not.