Monday, March 22, 2010

lady gaga perpetuates transphobia?

Below is a great, quick, analysis of lady gaga and how she adds to transphobia. (gudbuy t'jane, btw, is a great blog that's "a trans woman on gender, feminism, and glam rock (among other things)")

I really agree with a few of her points and think that the overall analysis is v. eloquent and dead on. one of her points that I think is v. insightful is that by putting transwomen and drag queens in her videos she is adding to the "exoticism" and sexualization of non-heteronormative people. well, she says it better, so read on peeps:



Yes, Lady Gaga, we get it. You can stop worrying that people think you’re a trans woman.

I’ve made no bones before about my lack of awe for Lady Gaga. It’s not that I have anything against her specifically, but I find the aggrandizement of her as a radically different feminist artist as shallow: she’s able-bodied, cis, blonde, thin, and conventionally attractive (I find the argument that she’s somehow shattering beauty norms really hard to swallow), and generally taking part in the privilege of attraction as western culture grants it.

As a trans woman, she mostly caught my attention due to the transphobic and intersex-phobic rumours about her being either trans or intersex. While these rumours were typically a product of living in a transphobic and transmisogynist culture, Lady Gaga’s response was one of gender and genital essentialism, stating that her vagina was offended by the claims.

It seems with her latest video she’s continuing this gender essentialism, slipping in a “no dick = not a tranny” joke at about a minute in, before the song even begins to play. The scene is set in a prison, and after being dragged to her cell and stripped by two women who appear to be trans Lady Gaga climbs up against the bars in a shot clearly designed to dispel any rumours. At that point one of the trans women guards says to the other “I told you she didn’t have a dick,” and they walk away.

When the original rumours about Lady Gaga’s genitals were circulating I stayed away from the story for the most part out of respect for her. Her offended vagina comment quickly lost my support, however. That she’s using trans women and drag queens to exoticize her videos doesn’t defer from the cissupremacist stance that women = vagina, and trans women are therefore not real women. Her anxiety at being seen as trans is clear, and her response is typical of cis privilege and trans marginalization: We’re supposed to wipe our brows and sigh relief that she’s actually a real woman. This is transmisogyny.

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