Monday, February 14, 2011

If I'm Born This Way, then I must Express Myself.

Something happened to me last night when Lady Gaga took the stage at the 53rd Anual Grammy Awards last night. Gaga was not new to me, "Born This Way" was not new to me, and her theatrical stage elements were certainly not new to me. But when Lady Gaga emerged from her alien pod and I saw her face and heard her voice singing those words, I was riveted. By the time she waltzed up to her Haunted Mansion organ, there was a bizarre surge of emotions and I could honestly feel myself growing misty. If my mom hadn't been sitting next me, I probably would have cried a little from the uplifting and encouraging vibes that emanated from my television. After a shitty, shitty weekend, I was ready to give into the misery and give up. I was ready to give up on school, on Forensics, on trying to be a prodtucive member of society. As ridiculous as it sounds, Lady Gaga was my angel last night. An angel that said, "You're on the right track, baby."

And you know what? I just might be on the right track, thanks to Mother Monster. After that perforamce,  I was a born-again Little Monster. I perked up, went back to work, and got some things accomplished. The coming week suddenly seemed less daunting.


Someone had to rain on my parade. Or remind me that I left my cake out in the rain. Take your pick.

As could have been predicted by a howler monkey, the Internet has been in an uproar (or something like that), saying that "Born This Way" is a rip-off of the classic Madonna track, "Express Yourself." Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I don't care. Similar chords and/or song structures be damned. To me, they are two different messages from two different women without whom I would be nothing.

"Express Yourself," to me, is a song that tells girls we have choices in our romantic entanglements. Madonna teaches us that second-best is not even close to good enough in a relationship and that we are strong enough to make that kind of informed and empowered decision about our sex lives. She warns of the traps of the lavish gifter. Just because he gets you the diamond rings or the "fancy cars that go very fast," does not mean he's bought your heart. No one buys my heart. When I was a child, Madonna's words taught me that I had the right to express my thoughts, my opinions, and my desires. She taught me that (and this was a concept I wouldn't fully grasp until only a few years ago) second-best is NEVER EVER enough. I would have done far better as a free bitch. In fact, I am a free bitch, baby, thanks to growing up with Madonna.

And speaking of being a free bitch, baby...

While Madonna told me to express myself as a girl, Gaga tells me to embrace myself as a woman. A white woman. A sexual woman. A stubborn woman. An autistic woman. A quirky woman. A jealous woman. A broken woman. A lost woman. These aren't all positive qualities. But baby, I was born this way. However we were created, it could not have possibly been a mistake, so why should I hide these things about me that others find not-so-great as if they were mistakes? I can never truly love myself if I am overly concerned with how others perceive me. You are the only person who has the right to say who you truly are. Lady Gaga's message in this song doesn't apply to just women; everyone can be on the right track to loving themselves by realizing that being born this way is the greatest gift of all.

You can say what you want. Lady Gaga doesn't care if you think her song is unoriginal and if it the situation were flipped, Madge would totally not give a shit. And you know what? When the snow starts to thaw and I'm driving home from school or work with my windows down having a little dance party in my car, It just will not matter.

I should take a cue from Gaga. The only way I can survive is to accept and embrace who I am and make it all work for me. Instead of hiding in reget, I'm gonna learn to love myself and I'll be set.


(Or a drag queen, but that's a whole other post coming soon this week!)


  1. As I mentioned in my tweet, I dont care that it's a rip of a Madonna dance beat hook... but I just dont get it anymore. The more outrageous, the less I care about the "message." You can inspire people to embrace whatever you want them to embrace without having to burst through a metaphoric womb egg with fake shoulders. Subtle is better, especially when you are essentially trying to fight stereotypes that most of the LGBT crowd is not.

    Dont get me wrong, I'm going to have my own dance party to this too, but I just dont get inspired by her and her antics. For me, pure entertainment.

    Today, I am inspired by: 1. Mick Jagger can still "strut" in tight pants at the age of 20304. 2. Bob Dylan can still "sing" after countless Christian revivals 3. Katy Perry can get a record deal. 4. Rhianna gets two numbers. 5. The backup singer to Em gets to be shot at a low angle (which must be so much more flattering for her)... and that 6. Elton John fab is coming back in to style.

  2. Hahahahaaaa, you know what? You're totally right. If Katy Perry can get a record deal, then I can do anything, like my use my mind grapes to grow my own fairy wings. :-P

  3. Do you know how many songs use the same chords? Do you know how many people actually write songs now a days? Do you know that 'things' does not rhyme with 'things,' but people don't care?
    Music is for enjoyment, not analysing.

  4. But it can be both, if we want it to.

    Art is for enjoyment, for entertainment, for catharsis, these things are all true. Now maybe this is just me, because of my nature, because of how my brain works, I enjoy thinking critically about art and analyzing it. It's not what I think everyone should do when presented with art, but it's a means by which I can enhance my enjoyment of said art. :-)

    Thanks for reading, Max!

  5. I love the two lessons that you got from the two songs everyone is over-comparing.'s all about how it effects the listener. Some people are just not gonna mojo with it. But if you do, and it gives you hope or inspires you in any way to embrace or liberate yourself, then the job is well done. That's the greatest thing about art of all kinds, free interpretation. So let it be yours and don't ever diminish because so and so says it's not allowed. Break those rules, you free bitch!!!