I was looking over the comments at Jezebel's liveblog of the VMAs, and what's with vehement reactions to the meat dress? Folks are saying that it was, "Disgusting, wasteful, unnecessary, yes. it was, "too much;" "there can't possibly be a point to it; just a way to get attention." Although acknowledging that it was not real meat [note: to my surprise, I found out later that the dress was in fact made of real meat], one commenter wrote, "there are hungry people in the world and you're going to drape meat all over your body?" They "disapprove."
Okay: Lady Gaga is a woman. She is wearing meat. On her female body. Does this really require an explanation? Really? Okay, here it is:
I could understand not liking the dress because it's obvious and old and done, but that did not seem to be the complaint at Jezebel. And, while obvious, and old, and done, the statement is unfortunately still relevant.
But you know what? Maybe Gaga was wearing the meat dress for some other reason entirely. Maybe it was about the wastefulness and extravagance of pop. Maybe it was a reference to her song lyric, "Take a bite of my bad girl meat." Maybe it was to get a visceral reaction from viewers. Maybe it was a statement about the impermanence of life; we are all just meat temporarily inhabited by a soul. Those are all good reasons for an artist to wear a meat dress.
It's the underlying sentiment of, "pfft, attention whore," that bothers me. The insistence that an individual isn't saying anything meaningful (even though the meaning is really obvious), and instead that they're just making noise.
And it bothers me because I relate to Lady Gaga. Not just because I share some of her privileges (white, Christian, urban, comfortably-off family), but also the insecurities she's expressed, her mysticism, the way she's latched onto the post-modern/constructivist philosophy, in her case via Andy Warhol, in my case via political science and sociology. But sharing the same privileges is definitely a significant part of it. People who aren't class-privileged white women get treated with such dismissiveness every day. I need to pay more attention when it happens, and get this worked-up about it.
*Sigh* The sad thing is, that I will continue to read Jezebel. Just so I know what they're saying. So then I can write blog posts bitching about it.