March 17, 2014 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Celebrity SpotlightLady Gaga is a performer known for her flamboyant style and over the top performances. She has earned a wealth of devoted fans by always rising to the occasion to shock and outrage in an industry built by mostly clean-cut, sensationalized, image-driven stars. Her recent performance at the Doritos #BoldStage concert series at SXSW may have trumped her previous antics.
While performing the song “Swine” from her newest album, ARTPOP, Gaga introduced performance artist Millie Brown who “vomit paints” with colored milk. Millie induced vomiting all over Lady Gaga throughout the entire song, while atop a slowly rotating mechanical bull/ pig with a ball-gag. While the discourse of the song speaks to making an animal of oneself, it’s impossible not to be troubled by such a disturbing and demeaning act.
Millie contends her vomit art is not harmful and denies having bulimia, but the act of vomiting repeatedly is in fact a medically harmful condition.
Aside from the risk of choking, dehydration, asphyxiation or aspiration pneumonia, vomiting leads to the loss of acids and chloride which causes hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis. These acids react with the throat and mouth causing erosions to the esophagus or small tears in the esophageal mucosa, decaying tooth enamel and gum tissue. However the message Lady Gaga having Millie Brown perform with her was meant to be taken, one wonders if the young woman is ignorant of the medical implications her behavior can cause, and how Gaga can justify enabling it. Having admitted battling anorexia and bulimia in the past, Lady Gaga must be aware how hundreds of people die from eating disorders every year, vulnerable to distorted media messages and harmful obsessions.
Lady Gaga is known to encourage her fans to be who they are and stand up for what they believe in, but her message here is obscured by the damaging and harmful nature of the display. In the past, her provocative and shocking performances demonstrate an intense worldwide persona from her deconstruction of pop culture, notorious for offending everyone, but she certainly hasn’t openly endorsed destructive behavior. And from someone who has openly battled an eating disorder, how can Lady Gaga think that having an attractive woman make herself sick on stage is anything other than misleading, damaging and dangerous? While in many ways her latest stunt has proven to be predictable in her ability to shock and surprise, it seems possible her own troubles and sickness are showing through.
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