Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The now-infamous Meat Dress: my two cents

I don't generally keep up with celebrities or with the media in general. Lady Gaga is my exception. I adore her - she's creative, talented, driven, and totally self-made. She's also MY AGE, basically - 24. For somebody so young to achieve such renown and success is just incredible; even if you don't like her, I think you have to respect that. So that's where I'm coming from.

So PETA and other animal rights groups are up in arms about Lady Gaga's VMA outfit, which, in case you haven't heard, was made almost entirely of raw meat. As an avid animal-rights supporter myself, not to mention a vegetarian, I can kind of see why; much as I admire her guts (no pun intended), I look at that dress and I kind of want to throw up. Raw meat - ick! But I'm kind of puzzled about why these groups are so angry. This is the pop star who wore a suit made out of Kermit the Frog puppets as commentary on the fur industry - she's obviously not ignorant to animal suffering. And you could just as easily say that with the Meat Dress, she's making a similar statement.

It's made national news that Lady Gaga appeared wearing tons of animal flesh. But why? More celebrities than you could count wear fur, not to mention leather, and nobody cares. Somehow, it's okay if the flesh has been treated beyond recognition into a form that's palatable.

The same goes for "normal" people. Most of us eat meat and wear skin every single day. We get dolled up with cosmetics that were tested on animals. We take medications developed through animal testing, and we barely give it a second thought, except to feel guilty on occasion. I think one of the great dilemmas of our advanced age is the question "is it worth it?" Is all the suffering we inflict on animals (and one another) worth it?

So whatever Gaga "meant" to say with her fashion statement, I'm hoping some of us will come away with this thought: that if what we do is so horrifying, then maybe we shouldn't do it.

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