Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Are Today's Pop Princesses Proper Role Models?

By: Anjelica Dudek

Today, a friend said to me on Facebook that "Lady Gaga contradicts feminism." 

     As soon as I read the comment, I literally gasped. Almost everyone who knows me knows that I am a proud "Little Monster" who adores almost everything that comes out of Lady Gaga's mouth. I've been preparing for her Detroit concert for months and she hasn't even announced the dates for the U.S. leg of her "Born This Way Ball" tour. Her style, her music, her words are what I love about her. She oozes self-confidence and strength without being cocky. It is because of that alone that she is one of my role models.

     This did however get me thinking, if Lady Gaga apparently doesn't fit a feminist role model, is there anyone "similar" to her who could do the job? As far as today's "cool" pop princesses go, this generation has Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj… are they qualified enough to be the proper role models for young women?

     Since she got her break with her controversial song "I Kissed A Girl", Katy can quickly become the talk of the town in an instant. Outside of obvious events in her life (like her marriage and divorce to British comedian, Russell Brand), it seems as though her breasts draw a lot of controversy, specifically in two of her music videos, where whip cream (1) were shot out of her chest. Was this an ode to Gaga (2), quite possibly, but why??? I understand the symbolism behind the firework one, but I don't understand the reason to add even more sexual references to California Gurls. So for about a year or so, I've had this love-hate relationship with Katy Perry. She seems to display the qualities of a proper role model for young women; however, she does feed into the negative double standards by over-sexualizing herself in her music videos. Nevertheless, when I went to go see her documentary "Katy Perry: Part of Me", my previous negative thoughts about her completely changed. Thanks to that movie, Katy has gained my full respect!

     Beyoncé Knowles has ALWAYS been a smart, strong and independent woman who has NEVER presented herself in a bad manner. Since Destiny's Child, Beyoncé's music is clearly feminist and there is RARLY any feminist jokes said about her. Without question, Beyoncé is probably the best role feminist role model for our generation.

     Unfortunately, for Nicki Minaj, it's a different story. Yes, she is also a strong, beautiful and independent woman. However, her language is at times FAR from radio-friendly and it often disses other women. But she is one of the only successful women in "the game" of hip-hop, so what can you expect? Yes, I will admit, I was also SUPER annoyed with her for a VERY long time. But, after watching this YouTube video (3), I have been reminded of her circumstances and her struggles of being a female rapper. Even my brother (who is a strong-opinionated fifteen-year old boy) completely understands and agrees with what Nicki is saying. 

     Comparing these women and how they deal with (and sometimes feed into) the double standard really made me see how hard fame can be on anyone, especially a woman. Unfortunately at one point in their careers, all of these women have had to play along with the sexist games (like the too-sexy clothing) before they were given the opportunity to show their true selves to the world. Yes, my friend was referring to Lady Gaga's (sometimes lack of) clothing. As much as I never really liked her practically naked habit, I've looked beyond that and focused on who Lady Gaga truly is: a smart, strong, independent woman who encourages all of her "Little Monsters" to stand up, be who they are and accept others for who they are. If that's not even sniffing what feminism is, then I don't think I know what feminism is anymore.


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