Monday, October 1, 2012

Lady Gaga opens up about her eating disorder

Well, not really, but she does mention it, and POOF! she's better and wants all her fans to know.

When it comes to Lady Gaga's sudden leap into the body acceptance arena, I tend to think a bit like Sandy Doyle, blogger for The Guardian, who acknowledges that these publicity stunts are less about the people struggling and more about selling merchandise or an image. I can't always put my finger on why the actions of a person don't sit well with me, but there's something about this Gaga character that rubs me the wrong way and has since I first heard about her. A friend of mine and I once got into a 30-minute debate about the singer when he claimed that she's a true artist. I explained that she's more of a gimmick creator. Yes, she has talent. There's no doubt about that. She's no Fiona Apple, but she can sing, and I won't deny that she's a musician. Let me be clear too that what she does is smart. There's no argument there.

I have to say that there's a part of me that wants to jump up and yell, "Yes! This is awesome!" when it comes to a woman standing up for herself. I recognize that it is a good thing that the pop star has taken a stand against the criticism she has experienced with her alleged weight gain. Anyone who advocates for health over image, even if it's temporary, is doing something right, and I applaud her for that. Is it a new image or really shedding an image though? I have always been of the mind set that getting people to open up and talk about something that can tend to be a taboo topic is a step in the right direction. Diane Israel and I mention this quite often when we have given speeches about eating disorders. It's true that it is a very brave move for someone in the spotlight to confess to having struggled with an eating disorder, and embracing and promoting recovery the way Lady Gaga seems to be doing is all kinds of great.

That said, there are some things that she's doing with this whole body revolution campaign that I question. First of all, any time someone calls her or his fans "little monsters," "my lovelies," "my minions" "bitches" or "you suckheads," even if said or written with the intention of being cute, it comes off as arrogant and condescending. I'll note that I don't think she ever called anyone a suckhead. That was another blogger I know. I'm put off by those who feel the need to raise themselves above everyone else. Also, suggesting that her fans post pictures of themselves, so that comments can be made is a risky move, especially for many who are easily triggered by images of others. We're a sensitive lot, and anyone who has struggled should be aware of that. Those of us who have had issues can be quick to criticize, mostly our own bodies, so while I get what she was attempting to do, Lady Gaga may have missed the boat by commenting on images of her fans. Hell, my blog is a recovery-style blog, and I'm aware that even that can be triggering for people. Sensitivity is clearly lacking in her approach. Instead of posting images, why not have fans write what accomplishments they have achieved, what they like about themselves or why not have them tell about a goal they reached relating to their struggles? There's something that comes off as obviously contrived in what she's doing.

Yes, and how many little monsters would die to have this nearly flawless shape? 

Apparently, all the eating disorder organizations are fully backing Lady Gaga. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I guess raising awareness is the ultimate goal. Perhaps I'm uncomfortable with this approach, in part, because those of us who also have messages are not being heard. Because she's already in the spotlight, all this star has to do is open her mouth and millions of people will quickly get the details on whatever cause she decides to back. Well, at this point, all I can say is that if her new mission helps even one person out there struggling, I'm all for it. So in the end, I really will stand up and shout, YOU GO GIRL!" I just hope the rest of us with messages will also be heard one day.

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