When Lady Gaga took the stage Monday night — as she was honored in Los Angeles during the Elle Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration — she wasn’t wearing a glamorous dress. She wasn’t wearing a dress at all. Instead, she chose an oversized pantsuit made by Marc Jacobs. Elle reported that during her acceptance speech, the performer explained her fashion choice and how it reflected on some issues that are important to her. She spoke about sensitive issues like sexual assault and mental illness, talking directly to women about supporting each other. She also spoke about the process which she went through that led her to set aside the beautiful gowns for the evening — instead choosing wear a suit.
Lady Gaga explained that she thought about the role of women in Hollywood while trying on a myriad of clothes for the celebration — and that the process left her feeling “sick to my stomach.”
“What does it really mean to be a woman in Hollywood? We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people’s faces. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public. We women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have deep thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values about the world and we have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced. “
She continued, saying that she realized that what people would really talk about and remember from the night was the clothes she wore. She referred to the pain and the fear that she still feels about her sexual assault at the age of 19 — and said that she chose to wear the oversized Marc Jacobs suit she saw laying in the corner of her room because she wanted to take back her power, adding, “Today I wear the pants.”
Lady Gaga spoke of being dismayed at the men and women running the country, and that her fashion choice on Monday night was her way of setting aside standards placed on women in Hollywood and elsewhere — so that people would listen to her, not just look at her. She spoke with vulnerability about the PTSD and fibromyalgia symptoms that still afflict her due to her assault, and about the lack of support that she felt as she struggled to work through her mental and physical pain that appeared in the form of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other manifestations of trauma.
Ending her speech, Lady Gaga appealed to her audience to “work together to beckon the world towards kindness.” She spoke of her wish for mental health care to be more abundant and more accessible — then asked those in the room to use their platform as celebrities to bring attention to the issue.