Has Gaga gone too far?

Allie Woeber
Allie Woeber

We all know Lady Gaga for her obscene style and spontaneous behavior, but this past week at the SXSW music festival, she put on a performance that crossed a line even for her. While playing her song “Swine,” vomit artist Millie Brown intentionally threw up colored vomit on Gaga, proclaiming it as “art in its purest form.” Not surprisingly, it caused a lot of shock and outrage.

Many believe that Lady Gaga is glorifying bulimia and sending a dangerous message to her young fans. I completely agree. It might not have been her intention to stir up so much controversy, but she should have been more conscious of the message that she could be sending. What’s more surprising is that Gaga struggled with an eating disorder herself for many years. She reportedly gave a moving speech about her fight with bulimia before the show, only to go on and make Brown force herself to throw up and call it art. That would be similar to someone who overcame a struggle with self-harm to deliver a moving speech on the effects and dangers of it, then proceed to have someone cut themselves on stage as a form of entertainment. It’s not art, it’s disturbing.


She has been interviewed about the performance several times since, but she stands by what she did and refuses to apologize. To me, that’s cowardly and insensitive. The least she can do is apologize to the people that it offended. But she believes she was completely in the right; she argues that was symbolic and artistic. The only thing it symbolizes is how misguided and pretentious she is. She should admit she was wrong and work on finding ways to be “artistic” in her future shows that could actually encourage her fans in a positive way, rather than something so negative.

I don’t think stars always understand that part of their job includes thinking ahead and considering the consequences of their actions. Whether they like it or not, people look up to them. The whole world is watching their every move. They have to be extremely careful about what they say and do because the effects of their choices could be critical, especially to their younger and more susceptible audiences. But on the other hand, fans often take their beloved celebrities a little too seriously as well. Just because someone is famous, doesn’t mean you should imitate everything they do. I used to idolize Britney Spears, but just because she went crazy and shaved off all her hair in 2007, doesn’t mean I did. Unfortunately, some people aren’t smart enough to realize that not everything their role model does is meant to be repeated.

Despite all of her outrageous costumes, and concerts and other questionable behavior, Lady Gaga is looked up to by her fans. Allowing someone to forcibly throw up on her during one of her performances was a huge mistake. It could potentially imply that bulimia is cool and artistic and encourage her fans to follow in her footsteps. Bulimia is in fact it one of the most dangerous diseases out there. There are many short and long term health effects it can cause, such as dental deterioration, hair loss, heart problems and infertility. Depression is a comorbidity concern which can lead to a high risk of suicide. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Is that what Gaga calls art? If so, then count me out. I don’t believe that purposely getting puked on is an art form, it’s just nasty. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a fan of Lady Gaga. She is confident and likes to take risks, which is admirable. But I think there’s a point where it stops being considered unique and starts to become simply unacceptable. I just hope she can overcome this and get back to making real art. Songs like “Born This Way” were inspirational and preached acceptance and self-confidence. She wears what she wants and says what she wants, which encourages her fans to not be ashamed of who they are. Let’s hope things like this latest unfortunate stunt aren’t going to become common occurrences.

Allie Woeber does not relish watching someone vomit on a performer. Responses can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

In Brief:

Lady Gaga screwed up big time in her most recent performance

Celebrities are people, too, and they’re going to make mistakes; don’t worship everything they do

Eating disorders are serious problems and shouldn’t be taken lightly