Friday, August 7, 2009

Today, In Unsubstantiated Rumors: Lady Gaga's Ladybits

So, we all know about my weird thing with Lady GaGa right? Like, basically I think she is an undercover performance artist attempting to decode the whole "sexy pop star" thing and its implications re: gender and sexuality and also sort of taking the piss with the whole sexy pop star thing whilst wearing corsets with exploding breast cups and disco ball dresses and what-have-you and singing songs about the disco sticks and the bluffing of muffins and I love her. Embarrassing, but true!

So, here is something else going on with Lady Gaga: there is a video of her ladybits circulating the Internet. Some people claim that they appear to be the ladybits of an intersex lady! I have seen the video, though I'm not embedding it here (although it is at the link, because it is everywhere) because it is gross and ties into the whole fetishization of trans and intersex folks and also the whole "DECEPTIVE TRANNY" meme where it is somehow your business to know exactly what is happening in the underpants of everyone around you. But, yes, there is a video of Lady Gaga's ladybusiness on the Internet. And here is a quote attributed to Lady Gaga "about" her ladybits, and it runs like this:
"It’s not something that I’m ashamed of, just isn’t something that I go around telling everyone. Yes. I have both male and female genitalia, but I consider myself a female. It’s just a little bit of a penis and really doesn’t interfere much with my life. The reason I haven’t talked about it is that it’s not a big deal to me. Like come on. It’s not like we all go around talking about our vags. I think this is a great opportunity to make other multiple gendered people feel more comfortable with their bodies. I’m sexy, I’m hot. I have both a poon and a peener. Big f*cking deal."
If were true, and Lady Gaga had said it: good job, Lady. This would be a very lovely thing to say, were you the first intersex pop star to be publicly outed as such, and it would quite possibly make me love her whole postmodern Sexy Lady Pop Star Sexiness project even more.

Oh, too bad it was all made up, though! The quote is from a "satire" site, apparently. And why a perfectly reasonable statement about being cool with your ladybits and your intersexness is "satire," I have no idea, but here's my first guess: the world hates intersex and trans people.

Oh, and here's the reaction on Bossip:
Not that anyone wanted to before but are any dudes still trying to chop this down now that she’s the one with the axe?
Sex as an act of force? The idea that trans and intersex people are inherently unfuckable? Oh, hurrah! And the commenters file suit, contributing perceptive thoughts such as, "That’s just plain ol’ nasty….a dick & a pussy yet she say she is bi…I don’t get it," and, "Why are people staying “she?” Isn’t there a proper pronoun for hermaphrodite?" (Someone else weighs in with INTERSEX SENSITIVITY TRAINING, instructing "Yes, it’s she/he or it.") And, of course, there are the requisite promises to throw away her CDs.

So, yeah. It will always puzzle me when cisgendered people don't see how the marginalization and oppression of trans people affects them. Because the fact is that there are a ton of trans people in the world, and you don't necessarily know who they are, and they're not required to tell you. But when people get a case of the Deceptive Tranny Fever, nothing - not decency, not tolerance, not basic fact-checking, not even Google - will get in their way.


  1. Oh, goddammit. I just saw some hi-larious speculation about whether her "masculine features" mean she's really a "drag queen."

    What the hell, cis people?

  2. People really think "it" is a proper pronoun for ANY kind of human being? Seriously?!

  3. Well said, Sady, and thanks, from this IS/trans-identified person.

  4. Oh, I am so sad that that wasn't an actual interview. It would have been AWESOME if she went public with that. That would be...just kick ass.

  5. Wow, Sady, this whole week has been amazing, and now this--it's like a little present in a bow just for me!

    Let us not forget that the culture double binds us trans folk as well--if we don't get the Genuine Trans(TM) brand on our foreheads, then we're things and deserve to die, but if we do get the brand, then...we're things, and deserve to die.

    Thanks for fighting the good fight.

  6. Maybe I'm behind on my bossip lingo, but I've read that sentence four times (twice out loud) and I STILL don't understand what it means.
    Though am getting the tone.

  7. Woohoo! An intersex person talking articulately and with dignity about themselves, and using it as an opportunity to educate also!


    Oh, wait, no. As you said, it's actually a really great statement, and I for one shed a lonely tear that it is not to be.

    And WTF with the reaction you quote? People distress me, they really do.


  8. Pai -
    I think it's more that people who use "it" as a pronoun don't think of intersexed or trans people as fully human.

  9. Yeah. This.
    Even my mom, who's an aging hippie and tries so very hard to be progressive and accepting of everyone, has a problem with trans-ness. And she doesn't understand why her having a problem with trans people is a much, much bigger problem in itself.
    Some people, even progressive people who understand that homosexuality isn't a choice, consider trans-ness a choice, and therefore something people have "done" to themselves, and can be fairly blamed for. And if even the liberal progressives blame you for who you are, then the knuckle-draggers are going to be REALLY scary.

    So...yes. Thank you for this post, Sady. I am not trans myself. I'm just hoping, like you, that someday the world can be a safe and happy place for everybody. Beginning by mainstreaming the concept of "my gender/genitalia/sex=not your business" would definitely be a start. I hope Lady Gaga makes a good, helpful statement on all of this.

  10. I Punched a Werewolf in the Face: A penis is an axe, and you use it to chop down (destroy, dominate, take ownership of) someone who doesn't have a penis/axe. It's a telling statement on homophobia and transphobia, the root cause of which is an ancient and deep-seated paranoia on the part of mainly cis het dudes that a bepenised person might be inclined to regard them the same way many cis het dudes are inclined to regard women.

    Not for nothing, but did you know that when Michael Jackson was coming of age, in his later-teens, one of the first and most virulent rumors floating around about him was that he was transsexual? There's probably an interesting correlation there; about how if you don't fit the white male swaggering machismo profile of a rock star, and you gain too much cross-cultural success, the means by which people will try to shove you back into the margins.
    MJ was cute as that little black kid singing in a black band for black audiences, but then he became a black man and there were far too many white kids buying his albums!
    And Lady GaGa is a lady. She supposed to be pretty-pretty and sing about lady-stuff for the enjoyment of ladies. She's not supposed to be more popular than Justin Timberlake, dammit!
    I never paid too much attention, but I'm sure Madonna got some of the same "gender-deviant" shit in her heyday too. I know there was a lot of slut-shaming way before she ever published that "Sex" book.
    Nothing new under the sun, I tells ya.

  11. I think for some people all they have by which to identify themselves that they think they can be sure of is their maleness/femaleness.They rest their certainty in that because society defines it for them. If gender is fluid, too, then they have nothing to anchor their sense of self by. And, of course, to the extent that they can't be sure they fully meet the exaggerated cartoon stereotypes which define manliness/womanliness in our culture, all the more reason to police them in others, as a way of publicly identifying with them and claiming them for one's own. Hatred is generally even more about one's feelings about oneself than one's feelings about the other.

  12. That would have been awesome if she had said that. And what the hell, satire? I've seen better satire on Family Guy (and I hate Family Guy).

  13. Sady, I love how you write. "where it is somehow your business to know exactly what is happening in the underpants of everyone around you." Brilliant.

  14. Just with the whole pronoun thing, if you're unsure which one to use(in this case, if a trans person hadn't made clear what their preference was), isn't the accepted choice now "they"? Or is that only supposed to be used in impersonal contexts?

  15. The site in question is a "satire" site (quotes mine, too) because whoever wrote that item was trying to make a comment on the photo that ran with it. (An example from another post: A picture of Paris Hilton pumping her own gas with a fake news piece about her having a new job.) I hope it's understood that I was not really condoning the site's sense of humor. There's also an interesting parallel between the GaGa rumor and a rumor about her forthcoming tourmate Kanye West, in that both were sparked by Bossip misunderstanding the humorous intent of a not-very-funny-anyway site. (The other rumor was about West campaigning to be "King Of Pop" in the wake of Michael Jackson's death.) I pretty much agree that the "she's a man, baby!" commentary is gross.

  16. I use "they" when uncertain of the gender of the person I'm talking about in circles that don't understand "zie". Another choice is "one", but that tends to be a lot less personal (though at least it's still human - "it" isn't even that).

  17. Good points. I thought this seemed too interesting and good to be true...I don't really like her music all that much, but she seems to be having fun, and her clothes are interesting. So yeah-if she had a progressive, "fuck you all, I am who I am" attitude about being intersex or a hermaphrodite? Way cool. This? Not so much.
    And seriously, it????

  18. I haven't heard of "zie" (although I am familiar with the Spivak pronoun "E" from my flirtation with nomic games), but it sounds a lot like it derives from the german "sie". Not that I don't like the Germans, but I'd rather my speech sound English.

    "One" makes one sound too victorian.

  19. Oh FFS.


  20. I tend to use "sie" for hypothetical people and I suppose it would make sense for intersexed people, however with transpeople it's pretty common to use the pronouns with which they identify: 'he' for a transman and 'she' for a transwoman. Since Lady Gaga identifies as female whether or not she's intersexed, it would make sense to call her 'she,' not 'it.' (Ergh.)