One of the most prominent subversions of order and expectations is the multitude of Gagas found in both “Bad Romance” and “Yoü and I.” In the former, Gaga has about five major personas, including a doe-eyed virgin, an emaciated prisoner, and a seductress. However, it is rather difficult to count the number of different personas—does the doe-eyed virgin who changes into a dancer and then into a seductress count as one or three different personas? What renders the counting complicated are the many scenes and cuts of scenes that layer all of the personas. For example, in “Bad Romance,” within a span of about five seconds, Gaga changes from a dancing seductress, to an emaciated prisoner, to a bathing virgin, and then back to a dancing seductress:
In fact, the emaciated prisoner and the bathing virgin shots occur during the same second. The continual resurfacing of various personas both divides and consolidates Mother Monster; Lady Gaga is, at the same time, both the virgin and the whore, both the dancer and the emaciated prisoner. Thus, Gaga’s identity is paradoxical. She is multiple.
This multiplicity is seen also—and more intensely—in “Yoü and I.” In this video, the scenes are more disparate and Gaga’s personas more outlandish; she is the Bride of Frankenstein and a traditional virginal bride, Yüyi the mermaid and Jo Calderone, a nymph and a victim of her mad scientist/lover’s experimentation. Each of these personas has her own narrative, but all these narratives are spliced together. The layering in this video is more complex and renders “Yoü and I” more circular than “Bad Romance”; for example, it is unclear how Gaga can be dancing while she is also undergoing a violent operation, for cuts of the mad scientist are interspersed with scenes of Gaga dancing, and, then, Lady Gaga is shown no longer restrained but as a mermaid in a water trough. No obvious transformation suggests that this change is the result or cause of (or is unconnected with) the mad scientist’s operations. In both of these videos, Lady Gaga challenges the assumption that a self or a subject is singular. Because of this multiplicity, these narratives do not flow in a linear or logical manner; when certain events happen in relation to other events is unclear. However, before the full effect of écriture féminine can be examined in these videos, objectification, which écriture féminine fights against and subverts, must first be examined.