Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pop's Diva Daughter as Primal Mother

I have a new post up at Ms.. Magazine's blog (after a long dry spell which was primarily the result of writer's block and lack of time) about Lady Gaga's newest music video, "Born This Way":
I’ve been looking forward to the music video of Lady Gaga’s much-hyped single “Born This Way” for several weeks, so, when it premiered Sunday on Vevo I really wanted to love it. Unfortunately, “Born This Way” just doesn’t have the twisted, Mad Hatter brilliance of Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video or the movie-pastiche playfulness and queer pleasures of “Telephone” (featuring Beyonce).

What “Born This Way” does share with earlier Gaga videos is an unabashed willingness (nay, insistence) to push the already elastic envelope of music video propriety, a penchant for dancing around in her underwear and a clear, but not completely realized, desire to blur the boundaries between pop rock and video art.

“Born This Way” refers to the idea that homosexuality is the result of nature not nurture, something Gaga emphasizes both through her lyrics (“No matter gay, straight or bi, / Lesbian, transgendered life / I’m on the right track baby / I was born to survive”) and with the neon pink triangle that opens and closes the video. But visually, she seems more interested in metaphors of childbirth and Motherhood (capital “M” intended) than in dwelling on images of queer pride.
Read the rest here.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

The War on Women

An important op-ed in The New York Times from Friday (h/t Feminist Law Professors for the link):
The War on Women

Republicans in the House of Representatives are mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning.

The budget bill pushed through the House last Saturday included the defunding of Planned Parenthood and myriad other cuts detrimental to women. It’s not likely to pass unchanged, but the urge to compromise may take a toll on these programs. And once the current skirmishing is over, House Republicans are likely to use any legislative vehicle at hand to continue the attack.

The egregious cuts in the House resolution include the elimination of support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.

An amendment offered by Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, would bar any financing of Planned Parenthood. A recent sting operation by an anti-abortion group uncovered an errant employee, who was promptly fired. That hardly warrants taking aim at an irreplaceable network of clinics, which uses no federal dollars in providing needed abortion care. It serves one in five American women at some point in her lifetime.

You can read the rest here.

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