Lady Gaga is, at least usually, an inspiration for feminine courage. Her general demeanor, her posture, her walk, her voice, and her gaze are that of a strong and powerful female persona. She seems to ooze self-confidence and strength, so what happened before the Oscars seems hard for her fans to imagine, but the Lady herself revealed all to Entertainment Weekly.
“I told them I was so sorry I couldn’t be Lady Gaga for them, that I couldn’t even get dressed. I could barely get through the song, couldn’t hit any of the high notes. Hair wet, sloppy tee shirt jeans uggs, tissues. They all hugged me and told me that it was okay because it was more real this way, that they understood that they were in pain too. They told me they were there for me to support me because they believed this message needed to be heard.”
Lady Gaga explains that even before rehearsal on Tuesday morning, her body was wracked with intense pain and inflammation. She’s only 29, so this is far from her usual self. She was crying, shaking, and could not get a hold of herself at all. Throughout the day, she struggled to get to that moment we all saw of her on stage, and even then it was obvious that she was barely containing her emotions as she made it bravely through the song.
Lady Gaga explained that the young survivors of rape, whom she assembled on stage for her performance, were her support system, and she could not have gotten through that public performance without them. She was nearly falling apart the entire time, but she made it through the performance on sheer grit. It was obviously all she could do to maintain any level of composure through it.
Lady Gaga, even through her own tears, was iconic and amazing through her Oscars performance. It was a side of Mother Monster fans had never seen before as she addressed the topic of rape from the perspective of a survivor. It is not something she normally talks a lot about, so even though it happened long ago, she is still very emotional about the subject. It was a moment when the gods tremble, or so the saying goes, as Lady Gaga completed her performance and received a tearful standing ovation from an openly weeping audience.
Lady Gaga has spoken so little about the experience that her own grandmother and aunt had no idea she had ever been sexually attacked or abused until the day of the Oscars, when they called Lady Gaga about things they were hearing on the news. They were stunned by the news and also as they watched the performance. Lady Gaga revealed her feelings about her silence to USA Today.
“I was too ashamed. Too afraid. And it took me a long time to even admit it to myself because I’m Catholic and I knew it was evil but I thought it was my fault. I thought it was my fault for 10 years.”
Lady Gaga is a very complicated individual and still a powerful female icon. She, in her own way, perhaps expected condemnation for her sharing of experience, but if so, she found something quite different. Profound acceptance has surrounded her in outpourings of love from friends and fans. Her own grandmother likewise expressed her pride in they young songstress.
Lady Gaga continues to be a role model for women, expressing to us a different kind of courage on Oscar night.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]