Lady Gaga’s new single “Born This Way” is meant as an anthem for all oppressed minorities, but many are wondering how can this anthem be liberating when it continues to oppress the people it aims to uplift.
After hyping the single for months, it was finally released—breaking a slew of records. The song debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, being only the 19th song to do so. It is also the 1000th song to hold the number one spot, which is also cause for celebration. The Billboard charts base their numbers off of how many downloads and radio plays the song has had. The single also broke an iTunes record for most downloads sold in the first week. However, the song does not live up to all the hype.
Some of the song’s lyrics—while I personally feel they sound a little contrived and unoriginal— are definitely pro-LGBT, and could be an anthem for many.
For example, “No matter gay, straight, or bi/ lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby/ I was born to survive.”
First of all, let’s take a moment to think about the fact that the current number one gives a shout-out to transgender folks. In this current political climate, that is an awesome step towards equality. Can we just bask in the idea of millions of young fans singing about “transgender life”? Surprisingly, there has been no critical backlash from conservative anti-gay groups—but I think they’re all too busy taking away women’s rights to worry about the gays for a minute.
However, a lot of people have problems with the next part of the song, which goes, “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen/whether you’re broke or evergreen/ you’re black, white beige, chola descent/ you’re lebanese, you’re orient.”
Most people, besides Lady Gaga apparently, know that the term “orient” is seriously outdated, and generally pretty racist. Phoenix-based Chicanos Unidos Arizona has also criticized the song for use of the term “chola” saying, “These are stereotypical terms. “Chola” is as derogatory as the “N” word when referring to a Hispanic female.”
Whether that is true or not is up to the individual to decide. Maybe she meant to use the word in order to reclaim it, saying that someone labeled as a “chola”—usually a negative thing — should be proud to be themselves. However, this is not explicit and the exclusion of any other representation of Hispanic people adds to the offense. And as for the term “orient”… well, there is no excuse.
Lady Gaga claims she wrote the song in ten minutes, after consuming a combination of whiskey and marijuana. I guess that explains the lack of proper judgment.
Here Lady Gaga, I rewrote some of the lyrics for you. I am not a poet by any means, and maybe the rhyme scheme isn’t set up very well, but it does eliminate the inherent racism.
“Don`t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you`re broke or evergreen
You`re black, white, beige, Hispanic persuasian
You`re Middle Eastern, you`re Asian.”
(And yes, I know it’s cheap to rhyme Asian with persuasian, but like I said I’m not a poet.) This took me all of about thirty seconds, and shouldn’t have messed with Gaga’s ability to write the whole song in ten minutes.
Oh and by the way… Madonna called. She wants “Express Yourself” back.
Check out the ‘Born This Way’ video beneath. Leave us your thoughts as a comment below.