Ever since since she was thrust into the fame over half a decade ago, Lady Gaga has helped push the boundaries of self-expression, and, as the political tides turn tumultuous, we need her unfaltering voice more than ever. Luckily, Harper's Bazaar allowed its upcoming cover girl to use that voice, and Lady Gaga penned an essay on what it mean to be a modern woman. As far as personal essays go, it is, well, deeply personal, touching upon the inspirations that led her to be the woman she is today. However, it simultaneously serves as a sort of pep talk to all of us struggling in the wake of this election... and it hints at how far the second sex has come, even if society hasn't quite caught up with us.
Lady Gaga first touches upon how rebelliousness is a part of her lineage, something passed down from generation to generation. She notes that she comes from a clan of strong women, be it her mother, her grandmothers, and the influence behind her most recent album, her aunt Joanne. Acknowledging that background, and how she came to find herself as a woman and an artist, is a wonderful tale in itself.
However, when the talk turns to the 2016 election and the terrifying political climate woman are living in, she turns to Michelle Obama's talk in New Hampshire, and how women will be criticized for using their voice, shamed and told they're being dramatic and weak. And the reality is, the modern woman, the modern lady, is a fighter. In Lady Gaga's own words:
Being a lady today means being a fighter. It means being a survivor. It means letting yourself be vulnerable and acknowledging your shame or that you're sad or you're angry. It takes great strength to do that.
What peaks my interest, mainly, is the idea of being a "lady" that's woven into this essay. The imagery paired with the essay has Lady Gaga in wide brim hats an high necklines, looking like a post-makeover Eliza Doolittle, with couture flair and punk deconstruction. The dichotomy is intriguing and clearly intentional: The First Lady of art-pop is trying to have us throw back to a time back when divine womanhood was tied to propriety and good behavior. Now she — we — are allowed to express our rage and battle, toss off the hat and stamp it into the ground.
And, of course, it's not as simple as that, in truth: the fact that the Donald Trump administration is looming over us proves that expressing your anger isn't enough. We need action. Likewise, the societal power of a white woman in Lady Gaga's standing is deeply, unfairly more magnified than women of color, women of various sexual identities, women of a poorer class. Expression can be infinitely more dangerous for women who aren't rich, eccentric pop stars. However, this essay and Lady Gaga's continued crusades for social justice — including her most recent attempts to prove Love Trumps Hate — show that she's definitely using her voice and influence for the greater good.
Lady Gaga concludes her essay by saying we should tear off the corsets that have tried to bind us throughout American history. Consider me unlaced and ready for the war. But, if you need further inspiring, let Lady Gaga rally you by reading the full essay here.
Images: Getty Images (3)