Posted by: Naima | November 26, 2009

Theorizing: in the dictionary somewhere between Sleep and Turkey

First off, Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your sweet potatoes, collard greens, tofurky (or the real thing), ham, whatever you grub on these days.

This week-long break has come at the perfect moment, a time when the library is filled to the brim and other study halls have students pouring out from every opening, but somehow the work has seeped into my holiday plans. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I’m studying at Bates, some might argue that it consumes me, but I honesty cannot have a conversation without talking about -isms and patriarchal reflections on society. Between reading Laura Mulvey and Black Sexual Politics, I have been taking every moment I have to watch Lady Gaga-related things on television. Somehow, amidst talking about contemporary music videos and arguably “the new racism”, my entire Black Feminist Thought class watched Lady Gaga’s new music video “Bad Romance”. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I’ve embedded it below.

Assuming you did your part and watched the music video, you might agree with me and most pop culture critics who say that it is a little wacky. Between the live auction for Gaga, that crazy looking cat, and the final scene, there’s much to look into. Anyway, after spending weeks talking about female exploitation in music videos and other mediums, a classmate of mine rose her hand and brought up this Lady Gaga video. She wanted to point out that there are some music videos that clearly try to shift focus from the usual overtly sexual and patriarchal images. My professor was intrigued so we got on the classroom’s computer, projected the music video,  and watched it as a class. Everyone was really interested in the images and after theorizing about the different things going on and whether they are conceptual or not, Professor Houchins said we’d continue the conversation after break.

I must admit, I hadn’t really listened to Lady Gaga before last week so I’ve spent some (or maybe a ton) of my vacation watching her television interviews and watching more of her videos, hoping I see some trends. I still haven’t decided if she is a provider of social commentary or just a self righteous artist who claims to have “mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is [she’s] writing about at the time.” Maybe she’s both… I’m just waiting patiently until Tuesday to see what my professor has to say. In the mean time, I’ll just watch it one more time.

Peace and then some,

Naima

Video contributed by www.youtube.com and Universal Music Group. Other contributors on this page: Wikipedia

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