Elvis Presley, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, and now Lady Gaga. What do all these musicians have in common? They were all controversial and use shock value to gain attention. The inter-webs have been ablaze lately with Lady Gaga’s latest stunt. At the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards, she surprised fans and spectators with a dress made of raw meat, that included a slab of meat atop her head and the shoes on her feet.

Of course wearing raw meat is going to attract the attention of animal rights activists, vegans, and fashionistas. Upon first look at the get-up you might be appalled at someone wearing raw flesh, not to mention the wastefulness and the fact that it is a DEAD ANIMAL.  After some thought you may think,  maybe this is a statement? Maybe she is trying to attract attention to the fur/leather industry, you know, pointing out that they too are made from animal flesh. Or maybe it was a feminist/sexual statement? Showing that women are viewed as a piece of meat? Maybe a commentary on the fashion industry? Anything?

It appears this is not so. After Lady Gaga herself was asked, what does it all mean, it is clear it was just another way to gain attention from fans and the media. Her answer to that question:
It’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian. As you know I’m the most judgment-free human being on the Earth. It has many interpretations, but for me this evening it’s [saying] if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.

What? Her explanation is not really an explanation at all. It seems she got her wish though, everyone is talking about her, even us. Maybe we should learn a lesson in this and stop looking for deeper meaning in our pop stars, who are really just making danceable, fun music. At least with all this chatter, vegans and animal rights are getting equal amounts of attention.  PETA chimed in, pointing out their disappointment in her fashion choice, “Lately, Lady Gaga has been having a hard time keeping her act “over the top.” Wearing a dress made out of cuts of dead cows is offensive enough to bring comment, but someone should whisper in her ear that there are more people who are upset by butchery than who are impressed by it—and that means a lot of young people will not be buying her records if she keeps this stuff up.

In fact, PETA claims that interest in the meat dress has driven more people to their website and they have encouraged many to download a vegan/vegetarian starter kit. Ellen Degeneres, a vegan herself, also felt it necessary to address the issue. Shortly after the awards show, Lady Gaga donned the dress once more to go on Ellen’s talk show, where no doubt Ellen must have been disgusted by the outfit. In an attempt to show the star that options were out there, Ellen gifted her with a vegan approved bikini made of kale. All this increased interest in vegans and vegetarian lifestyles, might actually be the unintentional positive consequence of having to look at a dead animal carcass as an outfit?

Obviously a kale bikini is going to get far less attention than a dress made of raw meat, but maybe she could actually make a statement with it.  Not to mention a veggie bikini is going to smell amazingly better than a dress made of rotting flesh. As a long-term vegan, I am personally disgusted at her choice in fashion and upset that an animal had to sacrifice it’s life for a pop star’s need to be in the public eye. Ultimately, this poor cow died in vain  and quit literally. Pretty abhorrent and cruel, if you ask me. What do you think of the dress?

-Gina Williams