Gaga Stigmata recently wrote a guest piece on the Born This Way Ball for Gagaism.org. Here's a preview of the piece, with a link to the full post below. We are grateful to Scott Finley for inviting us to contribute to Gagaism.org's larger project on the BTW Ball.
“Americano” and Meat Dress
Women as meat: the oldest metaphor. As Carol J. Adams wrote in The Pornography of Meat, it is usually invisible, this practice of “viewing another as consumable – as something,” of presenting the Other packaged and ready for a lustfaced gaze-and-devour. (Or it is visible but ridiculous, laugh track-able: Jessie Spano reminding Slater yet again that she’s not a piece of meat.)
But here Gaga makes it visible, literally, disgustingly (because if she’s making visible a disgusting system, a disgusting [set of] practice[s], shouldn’t she provoke disgust?): Gaga was strung up with the other stripped-and-shined pink meats. But she broke free. She broke free even though she was almost dead. She found other self-freed meatgirls and grabbed guns – giant phallic guns: signifiers of American subjecthood and tools to blow apart the system that slayed and displayed them. These meatgirls didn’t wait to clean themselves. They didn’t put on ugly pantsuits from Express and get stuck on the middle rung of the corporate ladder. They’re about to smash patriarchy still in their meatsuits – still as the meatcreature-monsters the patriarchy has created. They manifest a more literal and pop-spectacular translation of Schneemann’s “Meat Joy.” Joyful-angry Othered meatgirls ready for consumption but redirecting the violence outward toward their perpetrators – viva la revolución!
– Samantha Cohen
Lady Gaga tells NME Magazine that “Bloody Mary” is “a song about Mary being divine and human at the same time.” When she performs “Bloody Mary” at the BTW Ball, it becomes a song about being fully human and fully A.I. A haunting, moaning, part-human-part-machine screeching sound fills the stage, reminiscent of the music that accompanies Kubrick’s monolith – that black pillar/3-D-screen that challenges viewers and ushers forth evolution’s newest stage. When Gaga glides upon the stage and the first chords of “Bloody Mary” sound out, there are really two stages present: the one she glides upon, and the new evolutionary one she embodies. Her white Perry Meek dress and helmet channel Kubrick’s spaceship, positioning her as human-become-spaceship (and spaceship is the body of Kubrick’s computer come into consciousness). As she floats forward, defying gravity, her dress also defies gravity, refusing to trail behind her and instead surging before her – as though both flesh and fashion disregard all known laws of nature, problematizing what forward movement looks like. Gaga is the second coming of Mary as 100% human and 100% HAL 9000. Surrounded by the audience’s little screens – those miniature monoliths – that both capture and create her, the next stage of humanity, Homo A.I.
– Meghan Vicks
The castle in/before which the Born This Way Ball takes place is certainly a surprising choice .....