Fuck you, Lady GaGa, for excluding us!
I don’t hate Lady Gaga. In fact, I have no real opinion on her one way or the other. I find her frankly showy and weird for the sake of it. No big deal. Half the songs I’ve heard I found catchy. The other half didn’t do anything for me. This isn’t unique to her. I’m a music snob. But when I heard “Born This Way,” I first thought it was catchy, if reminiscent of Madonna. Then I heard a bit about the lyrics.
NO MATTER GAY, STRAIGHT, OR BI,
LESBIAN, TRANSGENDERED LIFE
Like everyone else, I thought it was pretty cool that Gaga was not only acknowledging the gay community, but specifically encouraging its acceptance.
Then I read the lyrics.
IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU LOVE HIM, OR CAPITAL H-I-M
JUST PUT YOUR PAWS UP
‘CAUSE YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY, BABY
I got nervous. “Him”? Is she saying what I think she’s saying?
“THERE’S NOTHIN WRONG WITH LOVIN WHO YOU ARE”
SHE SAID, “‘CAUSE HE MADE YOU PERFECT, BABE”
Yeah, I could see where this was going. Mothers never talk about their kids’ fathers as “making” the kids.
I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY
Great. Exactly what I’d feared. She had to bring God into this. I get that on a practical level, this isn’t a big deal. Gaga isn’t saying, “fuck everyone who doesn’t believe in one god.” And even if she were, it’s just a stupid pop song. But what pisses me off about this is that I’ve seen her be universally praised for her acceptance and inclusion. And yes, telling gay, lesbian, transgendered, etc. people around the world, and let’s be honest, teenagers, that they’re okay the way they are, is definitely a good thing. Considering all the talk of bullying and gay suicides lately, it probably is kind of useful for an international cultural icon to be sending positive messages to the insecure youth of the world. But…
What about the rest of us?
What if you’re a teenager questioning your faith or ditching it altogether? What if you’re not a member of the Abrahamic faiths? What if you’re fucking Chinese? (Though to be fair, she says “orient” which I assume refers to Oriental/Asian peoples.) By saying, “God makes no mistakes,” Gaga is automatically excluding all of those groups. In effect, she’s saying, “If you’re gay, you should accept yourself, but if you’re atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Japanese, then God made you. God did. That’s right, God. One male God.”
Sometimes I hear that because the gay community is only about 10% of the population, they need extra special care. And I mostly agree. The majority needs to look out for the minority, lest it be trampled, and as we’ve seen in history, gays certainly have been trampled on. But the non-religious (atheist, agnostic, etc. put together) in the US is between 12% and 15%. Not exactly a stunning majority (though a larger group than the Jews in the US–she never would’ve dared exclude them). And if we only include those who self-identify specifically as atheists, the number is a lot smaller. So is it vital to give a shout-out to gays and not to a nearly equally small minority? Is it just to single out a bullied minority for praise and exclude another bullied minority? I recognize that atheists haven’t killed themselves in droves, but the social consequences we endure aren’t exactly a walk in the park.
And here’s the thing. Gaga wrote the song. She had total control over it. She could’ve written any old lyrics she wanted. She could’ve chosen to include all minority groups or none at all. She could’ve made it an entirely gay-friendly song and ignored everyone else. She could’ve invoked all deities, not just a masculine singular one. But she didn’t. She chose a monotheistic bias. With that she said “fuck you.” And for that, Lady Gaga, I say “fuck you too.”