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 At best, Molinaro is using words 500 years out of date.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.

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. I agree with this whole post. Especially the part when you said men aren’t called sluts for sleeping with too many women…then they get called pimps and that’s somehow positive? I like to think of them as man-whores myself. Go Gaga! I love her :)

  2. we need to reclaim the word slut, just like we have reclaimed the word dyke and the “n” word in some situations….

    slut need not be a bad word or a disparaging name. sluts be proud, not shamed. things need to change.

  3. While I agree completely that slut-shaming is wrong no matter who it’s against, I wouldn’t stand with Lady Gaga. From her cultural appropriation of Islamic clothing to her iffy statements about LGBT+ people that make me question whether she should really be called an ally, she has far too many problematic views and past actions to be called a “social justice activist” in my opinion.

    • “iffy statements about LGBT+ people”

      No, she has never made any “iffy statements” about LGBT people. She, from the beginning of her career when no one knew who she was, has been fiercely loyal and supportive of the gay community.

      She also has never claimed to be a “social justice activist”, she’s simply doing what she can.

  4. I’m really not a fan of Lady Gaga’s music or fashion sense, but I respect the crap her. She gave a voice to millions of self-conscious kids out there who were scared to express their own unique personalities when she dressed and behaved how she wanted and made it look good. Like I said, it’s not my style, but so many people used her influence as a means to express themselves, in a way I’ve never seen before. And it’s really an amazing thing. So if she’s a slut, I hope I’m a slut too. Because it looks like being a slut is pretty awesome!

  5. I agree. There shouldn’t be any slut shaming. I doubt Molinaro, as you suggested was using the word “slut” from the Ye Olde English dictionary. I hate that society cares so much about celebrities and their looks and weight loss/gain. I can care less about who has cellulite, what they look like without make up or if they do or do not have a “baby pouch.”

  6. I didn’t like her initially only because at first glance and listen I thought she was just another in a sea of forgettable pop music and that annoys me in men and women alike. She grew on me fast though because of how fiercely she took control of her own image and created everything she wanted to express about herself without having to answer to anyone but herself…. She looks great both skinny and curvy, and her bravery in standing up for the voiceless and bullied is an inspiration. Yes she does promote questionable life choices at time and I really wouldn’t want my wee cousins walking about in Gaga outfits at their ages, BUT that’s the part where good parenting comes into play! Gaga is a great inspiration but the parent is the role model, and a child who respects their parent’s values will often do their best to live up to that ideal, whether or not they like Gaga or death metal or gangsta rap or any other type of music. Slut-shaming Gaga is lazy on behalf of the role model who feels to meek and weak to actually stand up and be an inspiration to their child rather than a jail keeper.

  7. I do like it when Dorothy or Ma calls Blanche a slut. heh, Golden Girls <3

  8. I don’t like her music, I don’t like how she dresses… I think Freddie Mercury is crying in his grave because of her name (Lady Gaga-Radio Gaga) but I do believe nobody deserves to be slut shammed….

HelloGiggles Podcast