Pop Feminism

25feminism-span-articleLarge I find it really annoying when journalists and academics examine the latest pop phenomenon and look for deeper meaning. Is Gaga a feminist hero or is she an anti-feminist? Sometimes a Lady Gaga is just a Lady Gaga. I blame Camille Paglia.

That said, I'm going to delve into Pop Feminism for a few minutes. The New York Times had articles this weekend about Lady Gaga and Snooki of the Jersey Shore that are garnering lots of attention. 

John Caramanica writes that Lady Gaga and her imitators are attracting huge crowds, while earthy-crunchy female musicians like Sarah McLachlan have to cancel tour dates, because nobody is buying tickets. Caramanica thinks we're in a new era of feminism where curlers made out of soda cans trump short haircuts and sensible shoes.

Actually, while Gaga doing really well (she has more friends on Facebook than President Obama), the copycats aren't. Christina Aguilera's latest album bombed and she had to cancel her tour, because nobody was going. Caramanica is trying too hard. 

Also in the Times this weekend was article about Snooki from the Jersey Shore. Cathy Horyn describes her as a turnip, an attention seeker and as talentless. She rocks the "pouf." Jezebel says this article reeks with snobbery.

I'm not quite sure why the Times loves the attention-seeking and body exposure of Lady Gaga, but finds it repellent in Snooki. 

OK, now I'm mildly embarrassed for wading into these waters. I'm going to have to redeem myself with a wikileaks post or something.

7 thoughts on “Pop Feminism

  1. I’m not quite sure why the Times loves the attention-seeking and body exposure of Lady Gaga, but finds it repellent in Snooki.
    Answer: Lady Gaga is thin and alters her appearance to look as northern European as she can (without getting plastic surgery). If Snooki lost weight and dyed her hair blond, the Times (among others) would think she’s just great. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a fan of Jersey Shore and think the stereotypes it perpetuates don’t need any help sticking around. But frankly, Snooki catches hell because she likes herself, despite not fitting the boring, cloned, cookie-cutter image of who’s supposed to be on television.
    That’s the whole point of the show of course—a ‘look at the natives, see how much they aren’t Like Us’. Just sayin’…if Snooki showed the proper dislike of herself by being obsessed with her weight or shape (she’d have an exaggerated hourglass figure at any weight), put on skin bleaching cream instead of self-tanner, bleached her hair, consulted a plastic surgeon about anglo-ing up her facial features….there would be no uproar about her.
    Never have understood what was supposed to be so feminist about Lady Gaga. She isn’t doing anything that hasn’t already been done before by Madonna. But I’m inherently biased; I don’t care for dance-pop.

  2. So, can Lady Gaga sing or not? Admission to Tisch suggests the possibility that she can actually sing (though I can’t tell from listening to the clips). If so, I think that’s what would make her different from Snookie. Lady Gaga would be a talented person figuring a way to market her talent. Whereas snookie is, what, exactly? a freakish phenomenon people are willing to watch, perhaps like a bearded lady?
    I guess the argument might be that it’s feminist to exploit your talent for your own gain, if you are in control of that exploitation. I’ve never been very comfortable with that argument, which resurfaces periodically (from the hippie generation where some women report that they felt promiscuity was an obligation to the movement to its more modern incarnation, can’t remember what that’s called).

  3. La Lubu, really good point.
    I have seen only one ep of Jersey Shore, and I liked Snooki. I have no idea what it’s like to talk to her, though.
    I remember seeing Married to the Mob with a friend (southern-born) in NC when it came out, and I remember her reaction to the women in the movie and my explaining that not only were people like that real, but some of them were family members of mine.

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