Meat and fashion make for ‘bad romance’

Lady Gaga’s devoted fans could feel she’s as rotten as her meat dress if she continues to extravagantly seek attention. Anyone who is even faintly familiar with Lady Gaga knows she’s renowned for wearing extremely

Lady Gaga’s devoted fans could feel she’s as rotten as her meat dress if she continues to extravagantly seek attention.

Anyone who is even faintly familiar with Lady Gaga knows she’s renowned for wearing extremely outlandish outfits. However, with her latest eccentric getup, Gaga went beyond outlandish and, for many, moved to full-on offensive.
Sweeping the last award of the night during MTV’s annual Video Music Awards on Sept. 12, Lady Gaga walked on stage to claim her Video of the Year award, in a dress made entirely of raw beef. A matching blood-red beef headpiece, which resembled the shape of an uncooked, tenderized steak, sat slightly off centered atop her head. Chunky meat boots and a beefy purse – which she later pawned off to Cher to hold as she delivered her Grace-Dickinsonacceptance speech – finished off the outfit.

The outfit was unsavory in more ways than one and certainly acted as another one of Gaga’s unpredictable ploys to attract attention to herself. However, much of the attention garnered from her latest act is negative and for good reason. Undoubtedly viewed as disgusting by most, the use of slaughtered meat as a way to place oneself in the spotlight is simply tasteless and ignorant.

“I always thought she seemed to be pretty progressive, and now it just makes me think, ‘To what cost are you going to go to be entertaining?’” said Deirdre Kurtz, a junior international business and marketing major who recently became a practicing vegan.

“It’s disgusting what she did and definitely pretty thoughtless,” Kurtz added.

Kurtz said she originally found Lady Gaga to be rather entertaining and even funny at times. However, Gaga’s ruthless raw beef outfit has isolated many of her vegetarian and animal-rights fans, including Kurtz, who views the meaty style as anything but comical.

“It makes me feel like she’s pretty ignorant,” Kurtz said. “I’m going to attempt not to pay attention to her or follow her anymore.”

It’s difficult to imagine exactly what could have possessed Gaga to sport such an outfit that has consequently repulsed so many of her fans. But Gaga claims the meaty outfit was intended to portray her distaste for the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“Well, it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth,” Gaga said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” the day after the VMAs. “However, it has many interpretations, but for me this evening … if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones.

“And I am not a piece of meat,” she added – a statement that leaves plenty of room for clarification.

Why she decided that decorating herself with animal flesh was the best way to voice her opinions about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” or any other policy, has left many fans and viewers clueless.

“Forget about vegetarians. My main concern is that it wasn’t respectful to the animals that she’s wearing, and that comment just further instills in my mind that she’s ignorant,” Kurtz said.

Other fans, such as Mina Lee, a first-year pharmacy student, see the outfit as just another typical method of expression for Gaga, something that is certainly not out of character for the pop star.

The outfit didn’t seem to surprise Lee, who has been a Gaga fan for a few years and attended her latest concert in Philadelphia two weeks ago.

“It was definitely interesting and controversial, which is what she usually goes for,” Lee said. “I don’t think it’s terribly outrageous for her, and I know she didn’t do it to offend people. It’s just who she is, and she wants to express herself publicly and with confidence.”

But even a big Lady Gaga fan like Lee can see why the latest Gaga hype is upsetting to some.

“[People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] renounced her for it, and I can definitely understand why they’re upset,” she said.

PETA recently published several blog posts that condemn Lady Gaga for her behavior.

“Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn’t want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots – not too attractive, really,” reads a Sept. 13 post by PETA.

The animal-rights organization later stated on its blog that Eminem refused to sit next to fleshy-dressed Gaga, emphasizing that he made a good choice.

“According to Dr. Shawki Ibrahim, the chief scientific adviser for Grow Green Industries, Gaga’s flesh frock was a health hazard, since it could potentially spread E. coli bacteria, which lives in animals’ intestinal tracts and frequently contaminates dead animal flesh,” PETA posted.

Vegetarian or omnivore, Lady Gaga fan or not – it’s difficult to argue that the outfit wasn’t disgusting.

“Raw meat touching my giblets isn’t something I like to think about,” Lee said.

There are clearly cleaner and more tasteful ways to make a statement. Despite the number of awards Gaga took home that night, she certainly lost the respect of many.

Grace Dickinson can be reached at


  1. I don’t really feel you grasped the idea she was trying to portray with the meat dress, she stated it was to symbolize the idea of celebrity being the food we all lust for, hence the meat. I agree, it’s a little gross, but the idea behind the dress is really inspiring and well thought out and rather humorous.

    Also, the dress was treated, as to not be filled with nasty things like E.coli, etc. She’s not an idiot and would never put anyone in danger.

  2. Her dress was made of FAKE meat. It was plastic. Do you think she would honestly wear real decomposing meat on her dress for hours?
    It has nothing to do with PETA, they are just after the attention and publicity that Lady Gaga brings. Gaga was trying to make a statement, it had nothing to do with PETA but they attacked her anyway. She didn’t slaughter a cow and then chop the meat up herself to wear the dress.

  3. She hasn’t really lost many fans because they know that she speaks on more than one level, including her fashion. Once they listened to her speech at Portland regarding repeal of DADT, they understood the point of the meat dress. Not the most elegant of analogies, but she put thought into wearing the meat dress as part of a specific set of actions re DADT. In fact, every wardrobe she wore in the VMAs was directly to DADT and not done for the purpose of aggravating animal rights activists.

    Other theories, thoughts, and criticisms of the meat dress can be found in a critical round-robin discussion, “Gimme some of that bad meat dress,”

    So, you see, Grace, it’s not nearly as shallow as you imagine it to be. And if she was calling attention to anything, it was to hear her message (delivered fully clothed, by the way) to the Senate, to Senators Snowe and Collins to repeal DADT.

    The time may come when Gaga will decide to do something to deliberately upset animal activist. I doubt it but if she does, you won’t have to be scratching your heads and wondering what she is saying. You’ll know. She can be quite blunt in her art.

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