Lady Gaga has become one of the most famous people in the world. She has sold millions of records, and has more followers on Twitter than anyone else. (1) It may seem like she’s primarily a teenager celebrity, but that’s no longer true. You may be surprised who is a fan (or at least knows about her). An entire episode of Glee was focused around Lady Gaga (2), and she has graced the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair.
In my family, my mother knows the lyrics to Lady Gaga songs. My toddler walked around with a pretend phone yesterday. When I asked her who she was talking to, she answered “Gaga”. My kindergartner discusses her fashion sense (the back-less high heels she wore in her September 2010 Vanity Fair photo shoot are “terrible”). My sister dressed up as Lady Gaga last year for Halloween. And it’s not just my family. I picked up my little girl one day from preschool and saw a group of little boys dancing and singing to the side of the room. Were they singing a nursery rhyme or children’s song? No, these little boys were singing Lady Gaga songs…complete with their own dance routines.
So what do parents need to know about Lady Gaga?
Who is Lady Gaga?
Lady Gaga (stage name inspired by a Queen song) is a musician, but before all a performer. (3) She grew up in New York City in a fairly normal family. She began playing instruments at a young age, and was always interested in “theatrics”. (3) As a teenager she began playing open mics and performing. She quickly established her own outrageous style that has become so iconic of Lady Gaga. Now she is world famous as a singer (dance-pop music, with hit songs like “Poker Face” and “Alejandro”). She is known as much for her personality as for her music, and has been known to wear everything from sheer catsuits to outfits covered in Kermit the frog stuffed animals.
Why is Lady Gaga so popular?
You could get a lot of different opinions on this one. Lady Gaga’s popular for a lot of reasons. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons is because she is a whole personality and style rather than just a musician. Lady Gaga has styled herself into a work of art. Everything about her is careful design (perhaps why she is know a creative director for major camera corporation Polaroid as well as being involved with numerous other design projects). She shows people that it is ok (and good even) to be different (and at times even a bit crazy). Lady Gaga is also well known for obsessively loving her fans (called “little monsters”). Plus, even if you don’t like her songs, you can’t deny that they’re catchy.
What about Lady Gaga as a role model?
A lot of parents are concerned about their kids listening to Lady Gaga. One of the biggest complains (apart from her general kookiness) is her drug use. Lady Gaga has admitted that she has used drugs in the past, at one point regularly. Now she says that she uses cocaine “occasionally, a couple times a year, for recreational purposes.” (5) Although she does say that drugs may have initially aided her creativity, she says they are not necessary in order to be creative. She has spoken out to her fans telling them not to use drugs. (6)
Another complaint is that Lady Gaga is too sexy. Yes, she does wear provocative outfits and make sex references in her songs. However, in my opinion she is less overtly about sex than many other pop singers. There is much more substance to her than that. Unlike some other singers, no one is buying Lady Gaga’s albums just for the pin-up posters, and her fans are known to emulate her style, but not necessarily to dress any more sexily. In fact, in a recent interview (6) she described herself as being mostly celibate lately.
Should you support your child’s interest in Lady Gaga?
Only you can decide the answer to that. It will depend on your family and your child. You may not want to buy them every Lady Gaga product that comes out, but it probably won’t help anything to completely ban her either.
To find out more about Lady Gaga, visit her official website.
(1) “Lady Gaga: Twitter Queen” by Zack Mandell, Associated Content
(2) “‘Glee’ Recap: New Directions Kids Do Lady Gaga Proud” by Terri Schwartz, MTV
(3) “Bio”, Lady Gaga [the official website]
(4) “Lady Gaga Named Creative Director for Specialty Line of Polaroid Imaging Products”, Polaroid
(5) “Lady Gaga Advises Against Drug Use”, ThirdAge
(6) Feature story on Lady Gaga, Vanity Fair, September 2010