For those of you who've seen the video, don't fret. I didn't quite know what to make of the meaning at first, either. I thought it was beautifully done (as usual). I did think some of the imagery pushed even my boundaries a bit....until I got thinking and reading.
I read some interesting "explanations" or views of what the video means to different people. Here's one such example: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100611170717AAqsW7U
My take? Well, let’s first look at how I feel/think about other people’s interpretations. Yes, it appears to represent gay love and what condemnation that the LGBT community gets from society in general and from religion. Religion is obviously a huge symbol in this video.
One person's explanation said they thought Gaga was Alejandro in the video. This concept really struck me as ingenious. Gaga is a representation of a gay man who is condemned and killed by society and religion for his sexuality. It makes a lot of sense if you watch the video.
She could be representing the LGBT community through the eyes of Catholicism and Christianity. Hence, as a representation of the LGBT community, she swallows her religion because of its conflicting ideals with her own (i.e. she swallows the rosary) and burns in the end because she isn't straight. The other nuances in the video could be interpreted in different ways (i.e. the machine gun bra, the crazy goggles that distort reality, the heart on a platter, etc.)...
What I personally got from the video is as follows.
The imagery in the beginning of the men marching with the Star of David and other metal symbols of religion signifies how men are supposed to be masculine and aggressive in our society. You soon find out they’re really not aggressive. They’re not Nazis (as they appear in their uniforms), but victims of fascist-like powers in society that repress them. They have to fight for their love and fight society for the right to express themselves.
Her face is also juxtaposed with a man sitting on a bed with a gun. (You don’t see the gun ‘til later). I feel that she’s the expression of his frustration with not being able to express himself or his sexuality. She tries to stay aloof and ignorant to reality to not have to face society with those cloudy goggles on. In a way, she represents society because she’s got her blinders on and sits far away from the world in her tower. She’s actually a vampire in that first scene—a monster trying to silence and hide what the men are trying show her and make her hear. She tries to deny everything they represent and gains power out of their silence and repression.
The next scene with the guys on the beds and the ropes are again a symbol of how society tries to control how men and women should express sexuality. She tries to pull them this way and that. But, she realizes she can’t. They will love how they love. They feel the pull, they feel the pain of the ropes but can’t help how they feel inside.
It’s no accident that she’s a bit androgynous in this video. The androgyny helps her to transition from one symbolic character to the next. At first, she is representative of society and therefore restrictive. She’s trying to be in control. After she realizes she can’t be in control, she becomes a religious symbol. The upside down crosses and the sacrificial nature of the scene where she’s surrounded by the men throwing her around shows how religion condemns homosexuality. Religion conflicts with a gay person’s freedom of expression. As she submits to her true nature and “frees herself,” off comes the religious robes. They stop attacking her but almost revere her sexuality.
Again, the machine gun bra could be a symbol of how the LGBT community has to fight for their sexuality. She has to use her sexuality as a weapon to win freedom. She’s also surrounded by men in military uniform. The fight to win freedom of expression doesn’t really turn out too well for her (or Alejandro if that’s who she is representing), though. She tries to be free of the religious hold on her—of the condemnation from society. Yet, she’s last seen in the most religiously symbolic form of the video: as a seemingly dying nun in red. She swallows the rosary as this last character because of her “impurity.” Her sexuality and representation of the LGBT gets her killed. She disintegrates in the very end. Therefore, to twist your mind further, she could very well be the body in the coffin at the beginning.
Weird video? Yup. Lots of symbolism? Definitely. And no, this video isn’t a copy of anything Madonna. I came across some comments that accuse Gaga of copying Madonna’s “Vogue” video. It boils my blood when people say she’s copying Madonna because, unlike Madonna, she tries to convey a message that transcends a quality of simple entertainment and sexual deviance. She smacks society in the face with what it does best: making entertainment out of the suffering of repressed people. Madonna challenged society’s ideas of sexual freedom, but didn’t go nearly as deep as Gaga does.
(just fyi: Gaga herself said in an interview that the video is about celebrating gay love and the bravery they need to face society http://www.popeater.com/2010/06/08/lady-gaga-alejandro-music-video-premiere)
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