In Defense Of Gaga: Our Favorite "Slut"Courtney Batzofin

On Monday, Staten Island’s borough president James Molinaro made all the headlines he probably will this year by railing against Lady Gaga. I understand the need to “stop glorifying drug use in the media,” but let’s get things straight here: Molinaro called Gaga a slut for smoking what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette on stage in Amsterdam during her concert last week. Quoted in the Staten Island Advance, Molinaro said: “There’s Gaga. Here’s this … this … I would call her a slut. This slut is influencing many, many children.”

In my actual experience with the word, slut is used to define many things, from the way a girl dresses and the makeup she wears to whether or not she flirts with boys. All these are typically the basis of being called a slut – though let’s be clear, there are no actual grounds for describing any woman this way, regardless of her appearance, sexual practices or anything else. I’d love to get into the fact that men are never called sluts, but that’s a whole other argument.

Let’s take a minute to look back at the history of the word. Slut first appeared in the written language in 1402; however, etymologists believe its verbal usage dates back to the 1300s. In its first iteration, it roughly meant what the word “slattern” means today: an untidy, slovenly woman or girl. HOWEVER, for the past 500 years or more, it has been meant to connote a woman of loose sexual morals. As far as my research has taken me, this is the ONLY usage of the word in existence today. At best, Molinaro is using words 500 years out of date. Way to stay in touch. At worst, he’s slut-shaming an artist who of late has created a social network to encourage people to be more free and comfortable with who they are and love themselves for their unique and individual qualities. And an artist who came out recently acknowledging both her weight gain AND her 15 year struggle with bulimia and anorexia in the wake of being called fat (read: slovenly) across countless press outlets.

I stand with Gaga. As does Manhattan borough president (and likely mayoral candidate) Scott Stringer. Stringer responded to Molinaro’s remarks, and went on the record as saying: “Lady Gaga’s work is a symbol of individuality and artistic expression. In addition to her artistic pursuits, she is a social justice activist and a real leader for marriage equality in this country. And no matter which continent Gaga happens to be in today, she remains an Upper West Sider at heart.” Scott Stringer gets it.

The use of the word “slut,” especially when grossly taken out of context as Molinaro has done, continues to propagate the belief that degrading women for their choices – sexual or otherwise – can be used to change behaviors. If I take a flier here and go with the classical (500 years out of date) usage, is Gaga a slut? I suppose someone who wears a meat-dress can be considered untidy and slovenly. So, she’s a slut. Way to go, Molinaro, you did it. Someone who expresses their worldview so purely and blazes trails… sign me up, please.

Gaga, you look amazing and you’re an icon, girl. Keep doing you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002479813114 Rachel Gosselin

    I’m not going to comment on whether or not Lady Gaga’s appearance warrants her the title of “slut”.
    However, I would like to point out to Molinaro that there is no direct correlation between smoking marijuana and being slovenly. There are people from every background who participate in those sorts of activities. If a man smokes weed is he also a slut? His argument may have been a reasonable one, but his evidence and support was truly idiotic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003293784494 Christopher William Riordan

    Lets keep intellectual using lady gaga – who do you think she is voting for and why?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1491147401 Amy Alanna Lugten

    I can’t believe this article, I agree that Slut is a dirty and offensive word. But seriously people. It is just handing it to men when you wear something that just covers your bum and claim to be a feminist saying “I will wear what a want”. If you want to show off your body, wear an elegant tight fitted dress that goes to/ just above the knee. WHY wear a dress that just covers your bum until you bend over. Gaga looks terrible here, how can you say that is not provocative?? I hate when girls say I am wearing this short as skirt because I can wear WHATEVER I want… yes you can.. true, but are you sure that you are not wearing it to attract men? Thus defeating the purpose of feminism. Lady gaga is basically just saying “come f*** me”. What happened to elegantly showing off your your body, and flirting all night, now it’s just wear a mini skirt that you actually can not bend over in and sending out the message “No need to charm me, just go for gold”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658714624 Paula Wiley

      You need to go somewhere. Most blatant misunderstanding of feminism I have ever heard.. and you even threw in an argument of “she was asking for it with the way she was dressed.” I truly think you suck

    • Bex

      You are missing the point. A girl should be able to wear what she wants without being disrespected EVEN if she is doing it for attention or wants to attract guys. Like Paula said, you’re basically saying a girl asks for it because of what she wears. NO man should take something that isn’t offered and NO person should call a women who is confident enough to show skin, is sexual in any way, as friggin’ slut. There is no point it except to be hateful and doesn’t help her at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1329468099 Alyssa Christine Lladoc

    First of all, she was not doing anything illegal when she smoked that marijuana cos apparently it IS legal in Amsterdam.. And second of all..just because she doesn’t look like what she looked like before, that does not give us a reason to judge her or anyone.. We just have to accept the fact that people may change (i.e physically) based on whatever reason they may have. It may be a shock at first but we’ll get used to it eventually:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1307395458 Aoife Clarke

    First of all Lady Gaga’s music is not “art” and to claim it is does a vast disservice to music that truly is art. Her music is at best catchy disposable pop.

    Secondly, her claim to being a feminist icon is also incredibly flawed. Although I hate the word “slut” I don’t think that her dressing provocatively is a sign of feminist strength, if anything it is the opposite. I have no problem with how she dresses but let’s not kid ourselves; she does so to shock and to sell records. Nothing more and certainly at no great addition to feminism or the fight for gender equality.

    Finally, her LGBT campaigning work has been massively overrated. If in doubt look towards her banal and frankly offensive lyrics to Born This Way, the most condescending “LGBT anthem” ever written and no doubt a step back for LGBT equality. Hopefully she is one cultural “icon” whose influence will soon dye away (I’m hopeful given her latest album sales)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1641860405 Joshua Metcalf

      Acoustics don’t mark artful music. Something can be synthed-to-death and still contain a contain a beautiful artistic intent. Next.

    • Melodie

      If you knew anything about music theory, you would not say Gaga’s music failed to qualify as art.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1641860405 Joshua Metcalf

    Umm. Slut is a compliment. Lady Gaga is freaking amazing. She’s not even fat. Anyone who thinks that those pictures above are of a fat person needs some help fo real. And if she was, who the f*ck cares? And actually, speaking personally, Gaga is an amazing LGBTQIQA rights icon, role model, and proponent and to say otherwise is really insulting to the millions of youth who mark her as one of their sources of finding self-acceptance (myself among them). Stop hating. It makes you look tacky.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=63800328 Beth Cook

    I’m not really a fan of her music either, in fact I think its rather annoying in some instances, but I love her for all the work that she has done in order to further the cause of equality and providing a voice for the voiceless. I don’t think this one instance of a public official, or whomever he is, calling her a “slut” will even phase her since she seems pretty used to being different than other people and celebrating what is different and beautiful about everyone. More power to her!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000143752769 Sophie Grant

    Why is it when it comes to Lady Gaga, even the nicest of sites turn into a breeding ground for hate or some subject of hate. Guys I know some of you don’t like her music or you don’t fully understand or care for her message, but in all fairness, what has she done so wrong to deserve to be called a ‘slut’ or ‘fat’. In fact, why would any girl OR boy be told such vulgar things? Can we just focus on the fact that Gaga really does do so much for her fans, especially when you’re a part of her fan base, you see it from a clearer perspective, however biased that may sound. Rock on girl, you look flawless! :)

  • http://kylebumpus.com/ Kyle Bumpus

    In what world are men never called sluts? I hear it CONSTANTLY. Lady Gaga is awesome, though. I doubt she cares what some random local politician thinks of her.

  • derek

    well ill just say what a great comidian once said. you may not be a whore, but you are wearing a whore’s uniform

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