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Bob Livingstone, LCSWBob Livingstone, LCSW
Healing Emotional Pain and Loss

Is Lady Gaga Destroying America or Is She Holding up a Mirror for us to Reflect?

Bob Livingstone, LCSW Updated: Apr 25th 2011

Lady Gaga's new single Judas was released a week ago this past Friday and was embraced by her fans and heavily criticized for being blasphemous, copying Madonna and copying herself. Some critics feel that she simply repeated her big hit Bad Romance with altered lyrics.

affirmation stonesLady Gaga can be seen as this generation's Madonna because there are so many similarities between them. Lady Gaga sounds a lot like Madonna in terms of her voice and the production of the music. They are both staunch advocates of gay rights and have been slammed for their outspokenness. They are both great marketers for their products and they have both been vilified by the Catholic Church; Gaga for this new single and Madonna for Like a Prayer. By the way, don't you think that before the church casts aspersions on someone else, shouldn't they clean up their own act?

Lady Gaga has made speeches admonishing the "Don't ask, Don't Tell" policy. She also withdrew from a promotional deal with Target after it was revealed that they made donations to stridently anti-gay political candidates.

Lady Gaga may be the only mainstream, popular performer that stimulates young people to think. This is essential now that we are living in a time where critical thinking skills are not being taught in the schools because teachers are forced to teach to the test. Her lyrics question the purpose of religion and ask what a positive relationship looks like. Her message of unity among the races and different sexual preferences is admirable.

The new single, Judas can be interpreted as a deep attraction for the dark side of life that includes betrayal and evil. She seems to be in love with him and addicted to his drama simultaneously. She seems to hate herself and suffer from having no self-esteem. How many of her young female fans can relate to this? Is she advocating this path for them or is she imploring them to open their minds to a better life? She sings, "Jesus is my virtue, Judas is the demon I cling to." What does she mean here? Is she saying that trying to connect with Jesus is not possible because he wouldn't accept her because she was too much of a whore and low-life? Is she saying that she doesn't measure up to the ideal and therefore she chooses to plunge into self-hatred? Does this self-hatred include loving Judas and knowing it will just be a matter of time until he hurts her deeply?

Perhaps her young fans can relate to this good and evil journey. Perhaps they struggle with internalized self-hatred and Gaga empathizes with them as well as suggesting an alternative view. What does she actually mean by the word virtue? Is it an ideal that should be strived for or is it a lame religious concept that keeps you feeling guilty and unfulfilled?

In any case, I believe Lady Gaga knows how to create controversy that will increase her audience and this song will provoke dialogue about some real important issues.


Bob Livingstone, LCSWBob Livingstone, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist in private practice for twenty-two years. He works with adults, teenagers and children who have experienced traumas such as family violence, neglect and divorce. He works with men around anger issues and with adults in recovery from child abuse. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager's Healing Journey Through Sandtray Therapy and Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain Through Exercise and his newly released book Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist. For more information visit

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