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The Myth of Lady Gaga: A Cultural Analysis of Her Popularness

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The myth of Lady Gaga: a cultural analysis of her popularness

Abstract: Lady Gaga is an American recording artist. With her fantastic musical talent, the most signature look and personal style, she has become the most publicly covered figures in the whole world. In this paper, I will present a cultural analysis of her popularness.

Key words: Lady Gaga, fashion, feminist, commoditization, castration anxiety

Lady Gaga is an American recording artist. With her fantastic musical talent, signature look and personal style, she has become one of the most publicly covered figures in the world. Since she does not only refresh the pop music industry with her unique musical style but also leads the untraditional fashionable tidal current, it is no exaggeration to say that she is the goddess for many young people. When Lady Gaga is attracting the whole world's attention, at the same time, some people begin to ask why Lady Gaga become so popular in such a short time, just because of her exaggerated outlook and her eccentric taste of fashion, or something else.

In answering these questions, I will present some cultural analysis of her popularness in this paper. Considering the extensive cultural coverage of the phenomenon of Lady Gaga, in what follows, I will study this case in three aspects: First, Lady Gaga has been subverting the traditional concept of fashion. Second, Lady Gaga successfully uses the sexy female image to attract the audiences, which is strongly attacked by the feminists. Third, Lady Gaga functions like a kind of commodity serving both the populace and the commercial industry.

With respect to Lady Gaga's subversion to the traditional concept of fashion, I think it is of great importance to mention what is fashion traditionally in the first place. Fashion is the style and custom prevalent at a given time. In its most common usage however, "fashion" describes the popular clothing style. And according to James Layer (Baldwin, 297), people's dressing behavior is based on three principles: the principles of practicality, the principles of classification and the principles of attraction. Obviously,Lady Gaga's fashion is by no means comply with the first two principles. Her exaggerated dressing and eccentric taste of fashion definitely is the third kind, just to attract people's attention, which is extremely worshiped by some people, but also despised by some other people, who think she is just playing to the gallery.

Moreover, I will talk about Lady Gaga's subversion to the traditional concept of fashion in light of Feminism. As we all know, by speaking through our clothes, actually, we can find features of femininity and masculinity, which are fixed in us by the society. For instance, men are supposed to wear dark clothes to show the toughness and rationality, which are constructed by the society, and women are supposed to wear some clothes featuring their tenderness and fragility which are also constructed by the society. This is equated with theory that sex is biological, but gender is constructed (Brook, 167). Lady Gaga is so not in this fixed dressing pattern. We fail to find any tenderness or fragility, in Lady Gaga clothes, but to find independence and personality in her pursuit of fashion. In this sense, I think Lady Gaga's highly personalized dressing behavior can be considered subversion to the traditional concept of fashion, and also from a feminist perspective, subversion to the Symbolic Order (Guo Aimei, 62), the patriarchal society in which women's fashion is controlled by the men and supposed to appeal to men. So Lady Gaga is this kind of woman who just dresses for herself and for the music she's going to play on the stage without being controlled by the man-dominated society. In this sense, women should follow a good example of Lady Gaga, deconstructively appreciating fashion and dressing not for men but for themselves. Thus, I think Lady Gaga's fashionable, cutting-edge personalized styling, hair, and make-up, on some level, may be interpreted as a resistance to the outmoded dressing tradition and to the patriarchal society that is dominated by the male's discourse. This is one of the main reasons that explain why she is a hot pursuit by the modern young people.

After talking about Lady Gaga's taste of fashion, next, I will talk about another cultural factor that makes Lady Gaga such a great star and a great cosset of entertainment industry. I think the other reason that explains Gaga's success is depended on the effect of the epigamic behavior (Gao Xiaokang,

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