Also be sure to read part one of this post here. Parental/Teen Conversations
There’s no doubt that some of Gaga’s antics, such as wearing meat and being painted with blood is not something that parents want to highlight to their teens. There’s also no doubt that she is coming out of left field much of the time. Because some of her songs depict lyrics of partying and no-strings attached sex, many parents most likely wish she would just go away. As a parent, you may love her or you may hate her. One thing is certain these days though, is you can’t avoid her. The reality is that she is one of the most modern teen influencers today, so parents need to understand some of her influential messages as well as choose to focus on her positive actions.
For one thing, Lady Gaga works hard and has done so since she was a toddler. She was playing the piano at the age of five and was writing songs by the time she was 13. She’s even written songs for the likes of Akon and Britney Spears. She started performing at open mike events at the age of 14. Raised as a Roman Catholic, she threw herself into high school musicals, portraying lead roles. She attended Tisch School of Arts in New York University, where she wrote an 80-page thesis paper on pop artist and studied art, music and socio-religion. Gaga did end up dropping out in the second semester of her sophomore year, but only to dedicate herself to her musical career. She’s one of the few pop artists that writes her own songs, plays her own instruments and sings live.
Another prominent Gaga message that parents should be aware of is in her position of choosing to abstain from sex. In making this choice, she is hoping to influence her young fans to follow suit. She wants her fans to focus on strength and individuality rather than sexual activity. She is urging people to stay safe in sexual relationships and even sometimes passes out free condoms at her concerts.
It’s true that Gaga’s fashion sense is unconventional. But on the other hand, she is demonstrating individuality. Some say that her fishnet stockings, quirky sunglasses and boots make her look like a hooker, but she isn’t showing her most intimate parts. She has been criticized in some circles for her bikini bottoms and leotards as being “slutty”, but do these same people blink an eye when Britney Spears, Beyonce or Rhianna dress the same?
Gaga is all about elevating pop music to an art form. She’s a serious artist and business woman, who’s also concerned about her fans. She embraces her role model status and her femininity. She wants to be a good role model and have a strong connection with her fans. More than that though is her desire to have her fans connect with each other. There in lies the importance of teen influencers.
Although parents may question some of Lady Gaga’s performance antics, she has earned a spot in the philanthropy world. Parents striking up conversations with their teens or tweens should consider these social topics in their discussions. Gaga has supported numerous humanitarianism works and charities. For example, when the earthquake in Haiti hit in 2010, Gaga held a specific concert dedicated to Haiti’s reconstruction relief fund. All the revenue received from the concert as well as all profits from Gaga’s online store sales for that day were given to the fund. All-in-all, it’s estimated that approximately a half of a million dollars were collected for that relief fund.
In addition, Gaga has made it a focus to educate young women about the risks of AIDS and HIV. In collaboration with MAC Cosmetics and Cindi Lauper, a Viva Glam lipstick line was launched to help the HIV and AIDS awareness cause. All net proceeds from the campaign were donated to prevent AIDS and HIV worldwide.
Gay Community Followers
There’s no doubt that a majority of Gaga’s fans are teens and tweens, with many being girls. However, a large group of Lady Gaga’s followers are from the gay community. In fact, Lady Gaga has indicated much of her initial success of becoming a mainstream artist was due to the support of her gay fans. Today, she is considered to be a growing gay icon. Gaga revealed that her popular song “Poker Face” is about her bisexuality. She’s also an advocate for repeal the United States military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and a supporter of voting for legislation that would repeal it. The Advocate, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender magazine, says that Gaga has become a “real fierce advocate” for lesbians and gays.
Food for thought
Lady Gaga isn’t seen pole dancing on stage like a young Miley Cyrus, she’s not being arrested for being intoxicated while driving, she’s not being jailed for snorting cocaine, nor is she posing nude in Playboy. What she is doing is writing her own award-winning songs, performing in award winning videos, winning fashion awards and just plain working hard at her craft. Not to mention, she is providing much needed financial support for others in need. Isn’t this what all parents want of their children — to work hard and be successful at something they are passionate about?
Also be sure to read part one of this post here.