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    Are Lady Gaga music videos harmful to our children?


    Posts : 39
    Join date : 2010-08-29

    Are Lady Gaga music videos harmful to our children?

    Post  mrthought on Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:54 pm

    Lady Gaga seems to take a lot of pride in producing music that is catchy and innovative. The videos she creates to accompany her songs range from merely surreal to actively disconcerting. Are they necessarily harmful to children, though? Absolutely not, as long as parents are willing to talk to their children about the themes in the videos and discuss any concerns that the children may have about what they see in the videos.

    In "Poker Face," Lady Gaga emerges from a pool in a torn wetsuit, dances around the pool alone and with dancers (on and off of patio furniture), and plays poker. Compared to many other music videos I've seen, Lady Gaga is much more clothed than her peers. Even "Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" is just a bouncy video where Lady Gaga walks and dances on an Italian street set or lays in bed in a bright apartment. "LoveGame" involves Lady Gaga dancing in various costumes (including one that seems to consist solely of body paint and crystals), dodging police and damaging a car's pain job by dancing on it in heels (how she kept her balance while dancing on a car hood while wearing heels is entirely up for conjecture).

    "Just Dance" has what could be considered an actual storyline, but waking up and having a house party isn't nearly as complex a plot as the ones set forth in "Bad Romance" or "Alejandro." While all of the videos to have erotic or semi-erotic imagery, none of them seem to push the boundaries past anything that Madonna did in the 80s or 90s. These videos offer parents the opportunity to discuss what they feel is appropriate dress for going out in public or the appropriate way to react to being confronted by the police while dancing in a parking garage (in reality, making out with a cop probably won't get you out of trouble, even if you look like Lady Gaga or one of her dancers).

    "Paparazzi" marks a considerable shift from the "dance in various places in various costumes with various people" theme of her previous videos. In "Paparazzi," there is a definite storyline involving the rise, fall, and triumphant return of the video's version of Lady Gaga. Is the idea of a woman being assaulted and nearly murdered by her boyfriend, then coming back and getting revenge on him disturbing? Of course, but it can open up an opportunity to talk to your children about the impact of domestic violence and appropriate steps to make sure that the abuser is punished (murdering the abuser while pretending to be someone else may or may not be an appropriate course of action, depending on your values).

    "Telephone" seems to borrow elements from "Thelma & Louise" as Lady Gaga and Beyonce travel from the jail, stop at a diner, kill everyone in it, and head out for parts unknown with the police pursuing them in their vehicle, the "Pussy Wagon" from Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies. This opens up opportunities to talk to your children about feminism, gender roles, appropriate behavior when released from jail on bond, the glamorization of homicide in popular culture, and female mass murderers.

    "Bad Romance" also contains disturbing imagery as Lady Gaga's character is drugged and sold in an auction, presumably as a sex slave, and is seen with the smoldering skeleton of her buyer in the final moments of the video. Again, watching this video gives you the opportunity to discuss these themes with your children and educate them about sexual slavery, safety when traveling abroad, and women being treated as objects rather than people in media.

    "Alejandro" reminds me of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video, since both artists combined complex themes of sex and religion in a single video. While Madonna's effort may have been a more serious reflection on faith and sex, Lady Gaga throws militarism into the mix as well. Both videos have been decried as blasphemous and disrespectful to faith, but they also offer teaching opportunities and an opening for children to discuss any questions or feelings they might have from watching the video.

    While I find some of Lady Gaga's videos to be rather disturbing, I also find them fascinating and do not believe that they are intrinsically damaging to children. Any damage done to your children via these videos depends very strongly on your personal reactions to the videos and your willingness to address the themes contained within them. You can certainly prevent your children from watching the videos if you do not feel that they are appropriate for your child to watch, but I think that they offer teaching opportunities regarding many relevant issues.

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