Lady Gaga is having a Bad Romance with the animal protection movement. She roiled animal rights advocates by appearing at the 2010 Video Music Awards in a dress and boots that were made of raw strips of meat tied together with butcher’s string. To top it off, she wore a bloody steak on her head, cocked to the side. The week before, in what now looks like a publicity test run, Lady Gaga appeared on the cover of Japanese Vogue in a bikini made of raw meat. Frank Fernandez, the “designer,” told MTV that the meat came from his family butcher.
Animal rights activists all over the world were posting rants on Facebook. “I find it hard to believe,” said Mary Cummins, a wildlife rehabilitator in Los Angeles. “It's too red to be over thirty-six hours old. The top looked like fabric to me in the video of the show. Plus, it would have stuck to the seat. Blech!” “There's nothing to like about some scum-rag wearing animal flesh wrapped around her,” said Don Scott, an animal advocate from Chicago. “Somebody throw her on a barbecue, already!” said Anne-Marie Tissot, posting in the middle of the night from Paris. Children starving around the world & Lady Nada wears meat,” posted Patty Shenker, a vegan philanthropist living in Pacific Palisades. “How cruel & thoughtless,” she wrote. "EW!" posted another Facebook friend. "DISGUSTAMUNDO!"
An international debate was sparked on how long it would take for maggots to emerge under the television spotlight the next day as Gaga shifted in a blood-stained chair across from Ellen DeGeneres, a vegan. “It’s not real meat,” insisted Mary Cummins. “It would decompose and turn black within hours.” I reminded a growing mob of angry Facebook posters that she is in a business where costumes are created in a series, for different shots on different days and could have easily had a dozen of these made up by her local butcher/stylist.
On her show, DeGeneres asked for an explanation about “the meat. “I can’t be just another b=tch in a dress at an awards show,” explained Gaga, self-consciously. Lady Gaga then gushed to Ellen, “You’re my favorite person!” In a well-rehearsed nod to her base, she recited her political statement about the “don’t ask—don’t tell” policy being overturned, claiming that “we are very excited… because it’s a violation of what we stand for as Americans.”
Gaga continued her discourse, finally getting to the point of why she was wearing meat.
“My fans who are Gay, they feel they have a lot of government oppression on them and that’s why I’m wearing meat tonight” she explained. Ellen then gently told a visibly embarrassed Gaga that she is a vegan. (Gaga didn’t know her “favorite” person is a vegan?) Gaga laughed nervously and said, “Go figure! It’s not my luck!” Caught in a gory gaffe, and suddenly realizing she could lose her veggie fans, Gaga attempted to recover by saying, “no offense to anyone who is vegan or vegetarian…I am, as you know, the most judgment-free human being on earth, HOWEVER,” and then she fumbled her way through her discomfort by falling back on what she rehearsed and what she knows she can count on—a bland, thoughtless and hack lyric-like statement: “If we don’t stand up for our rights, pretty soon, we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.” Then she sat back, self-satisfied with disgorging what she thinks is a profound idea, waiting to soak up some applause.
Salivating for a stinging retort, all of us in the animal protection movement knew what needed to be said next (Ellen meekly offered Gaga a bikini made of vegetables). What about the rights of the poor creature who was tortured and murdered to make your bloody DRESS?
Her recited statement about “rights” is meaningless. The meat in her statement is all on her. The idea is bare bones. The gruesome display revealed Gaga as narcissistic and thoughtless—completely oblivious to the serious issues of the cruelty in factory farming, how meat is making people sick, and the damage factory farming causes to our environment.
Gaga's explanation is illogical and is as thoughtlessly put together as the meat dress she wore. How does wearing raw meat make a statement about Gay rights? How is Gaga standing up for equality and justice by wearing a dress made of meat, especially during a historic economic crisis, where, even in America, millions of families are going hungry?
Her desire to be approved of as “judgment-free” is yet another example of her faulty thinking. What is the stance against a discriminatory policy targeted at Gays in the military? Is it not a judgment that the policy is wrong? To speak out against discrimination and injustice is, on its face, being judgmental against the tyrants who discriminate and who are unjust. To be judgment-free, as she is, apparently, happy to be, is also to be free of opinions and ideas. Does she have a single idea under that hideous filet beret or is she just a shameless exhibitionist reaching to link herself, without merit, without thought or effort, to an important social movement?
Gaga's dress isn't going to get the unjust policy of "Dont ask, don't tell" overturned. Hard-working political activists are doing that without throwing animals under the bus and without a song and dance.
Did she think she could fool her fans into thinking she was being original? The idea of meat as clothing isn’t original at all. Just Google images of "meat clothing" and see for yourself, page after nauseating page.
The collateral and unintentional result of Gaga’s mis-teak is the stirring of hearts and minds about meat and how meat production is violent, cruel, how meat ruins one’s health and how factory farming is destroying the environment. Gaga’s narcissistic desire to be a hero to the GLBT community has inadvertently created a platform for genuine and informed political activists who are musicians, artists, writers, designers, philosophers, to share the truth about a globally important social movement—Animal Rights.
I’m glad she wore that revolting outfit because it got people talking about just how monstrous meat production is. This selfish girl inspires me to dream…of grinding her bratty little Poker Face in the blood on a slaughter house floor. In my dream, a brutalized steer cries out the lyric to her hit song, Monster: “That girl is a monster. She ate my heart.”
Grow up, Gaga. Your dress stinks.
Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director, Companion Animal Protection Society