I'm not a big consumer of pop culture, especially not pop music. I stick to hard rock and heavy metal, and the classics at that. So its not surprising that I hadn't heard a Lady Gaga song until South Park had Cartman cover "Poker Face". And even then I had no idea who it was. I thought it was an 80s song of an artist I couldn't remember.
The other reason I wasn't aware of her aside from seeing one of her costumes every now and again was because I was in grad school when she first hit it big. My first year of grad school was intense as hell. I was just treading water the whole time. So I didn't have much time to diverge from my normal mode of not consuming pop culture. And in my second year I was a research assistant. So while I was more comfortable I was even more busy with work.
I'm telling you about this because I've given a few of her songs a good listen and I love "Poker Face" and "Just Dance". That's a little weird for me considering the last song I downloaded was "Painkiller" by Judas Priest. There really aren't many similarities aside from Rob Halford being almost as theatrical and eccentric as Gaga. And just as further reference, the playlist on my iphone consists of Van Halen, Metallica, Sum 41, The Offspring, and Iron Maiden. I simply do not consume pop music...until Gaga.
Besides her music you of course can't escape her image. Its a bit out there. But to me its out there in a good way. The appeal of her image to me isn't quite as shocking as her music since my favorite band of all time is KISS. But with Gaga its more personal than what KISS was doing. From what I can gather by watching her in interviews her image is very much her, not just a show. She wants to be different and show that being non-typical can be fun, cool, and sexy. And to me the confidence it takes to pull her image off and the message of acceptance she tries to give her fans is very sexy. Plus physically she is attractive. So combining the personality with her physicality and I find her extremely sexy.
I also like that she speaks out for liberal causes. And its not just gay rights, though that is very important since they are disenfranchised citizens who are a fairly small minority in political terms. Its everyone who is different or just feels different. That message resonates with me even though I'm pretty much in no way a minority of any sort. I'm a 27 year old male from a middle class family. I went to Catholic school from K-12. I'm 6'2 with blond hair and green eyes with a masters degree in political science. By nearly every measure I'm very lucky. But her message resonates with me because even though I'm very lucky I am still insecure in many ways. And as a kid going into junior high I started to feel like an outcast. I was still popular and never got picked on. But I just didn't connect with the other kids. And then going to an all boys, expensive high school I continued to feel very different than everyone else around me. I even felt that way in college (though more comfortable than high school).
And those experiences as a kid have helped shape who I am today. Its part of the reason why I like hard rock and heavy metal. Its why I don't care for most of pop culture; be it music, tv, film, etc. I'm such a huge Joss Whedon fan because a lot of his themes are about being an outcast. And like Gaga he tries to show people that its ok to be different.
I've probably rambled on for long enough now. I just wanted to get my thoughts out about Lady Gaga because I've just been infatuated with her for the past week. I think she is genuine and I hope she keeps doing what she does.