A Meaning to Her Madness

Lady Gaga’s music videos are crazy, complicated, and disturbing.  In both “Bad Romance” and “Yoü and I,” Lady Gaga displays monstrous personas and wears outlandish costumes.  Her interactions with her lovers are violent, and the plots, which are not perfectly linear, render any explanation complex.  Do the narratives start at the beginning?  In medias res?  Or, at the end?  Moreover, the lyrics do not help to clarify the videos; instead they add another intricate layer to each piece.  Elements such as an unconventional, circular narrative flow and a multiplicity of personas suggest that “Yoü and I” and “Bad Romance” are examples of the écriture féminine that Hélène Cixous called for in her 1975 manifesto, “The Laugh of the Medusa.”[1]  An understanding of this style reveals a meaning to Gaga’s madness; “Yoü and I” and “Bad Romance” are more than collages of strange scenes that push boundaries, such as those of performance, sexuality, relationships, and fashion; they are searches for a more authentic understanding of the self—especially the feminine self—that, in the process, combat the objectification practiced by the dominant male figures in each video.

[1] Although Cixous’s theory concerns language, this paper takes the tenets of her theory and applies them to Lady Gaga’s music videos, analyzing the videos as text.



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