The Independent Journal Review published an article titled “Lady Gaga Just Taught Beyoncé How to Really Bring America Together with Epic Halftime Show“. I took issue with not just that, but something buried within the article itself:
That combined with the arguments over who had the better political statement in their performance drove me up the wall. What follows is my attempt to parse through the mess to find out what really irks my nerves.
First, we need to understand the “political statement”. Political statements can range from good to bad and be anything from high to low quality. In my humble opinion, Beyoncé had a high quality, good political statement. On the other hand, Gaga’s was mediocre (at best) and arguably not that good.
Good political statements are contentious. It causes much controversy and debate. That’s what Beyoncé did. Gaga on the other hand, while a good performance, was bland. She was bland enough to appeal to everyone.
She was like a bill on the House floor that gets bipartisan support; watered down to the point of near uselessness. Once again, I’m not saying Gaga’s performance was bad. It wasn’t. I’m saying her political statement was lackluster at best. Beyoncé, on the other hand, (once again, in my humble opinion) had both an exceptional performance and political statement.
Now let’s discuss intentions. I think both of them set out to do exactly what they did. Beyoncé wanted to make a firm statement and Gaga wanted to appeal to everyone. Neither one of them did anything “wrong”. They were going for different outcomes and achieved them. That is why you simply cannot compare the two. Their performances were too different. Their intentions were too different.
To say that Gaga “taught” Beyoncé how to “bring everyone together” is, for lack of a better word, bullshit. Beyoncé knows how to bring everyone together. She does it all the time. She simply didn’t want to with her Super Bowl performance.
That whole “article” is nothing but a lowkey way to insult Beyoncé’s performance. Like many have pointed out, the comparison of the make-up of their dancers is nothing but another way to say “omg, reverse racism”.
So, yes, Gaga did make a political statement. No, it was not high quality. She did not want it to be. Gaga wanted to be “universal”. She was. Beyoncé made a firm political statement. It was good and of very high quality. That’s what she wanted. You cannot compare the two performances because their intentions were too different. That article tried it and failed.
There is also latent sexism in pitting two women against each other who never wanted or asked to be in competition in the first place. There was literally no reason at all to try to compare Beyoncé and Gaga’s performances. I feel like people did it for two specific reasons.
- It was a way to dismiss Beyoncé once again, and
- Two women cannot do anything without people pitting them against one another.
They’re not in competition with one another. Both did a good job. Both set out to do what they ultimately did. There’s no reason to go “OMG GAGA WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN BEY” or “OMG BEY KILLED IT AND GAGA WAS SHIT”. There’s also no reason to go after people who think one way or the other about the performances. They are two different women who did two different things with two different intentions. Comparison is not needed and I’m sure not wanted.