The word “follies” comes from the French root ‘madness’ and ‘delight’, and the English root ‘fool’ and ‘foolish. It means a lack of good sense; a foolish act, idea, or practice; and when capitalized also refers to glamourous female performers. The word “foibles” comes from the root ‘feeble’ and means minor weakness or eccentricity of someone’s character. And then there’s Lady Gaga, what does her controversial performance in Alejandro really mean?
When I first saw Alejandro with Lady Gaga all covered in blood, I didn’t get it. Then with shock, disgust and disapproval I realized it was menstrual blood. Much the same reaction we have as a society to the female cycle per se. A reaction we seldom question. It was at that time I had an epiphany regarding health and well-being; that expression (and therefore acceptance) of reproductive blood has, until Alejandro, been all but taboo. Could it be that our lack of acknowledgement of complete and perfect pre-established wholeness is rooted in a fear of our own nature, and especially as it pertains to female sexuality integral to the cycle of life?
But why all the graphic theatrics? Judging by the response, both good and bad, Lady Gaga’s self expression is highly relevant if nothing else. And hasn’t that been the role of the jester fool after all, to entertain us with that which we are in the dark about? Someone brave enough to act foolishly enough to shed some light to our weaknesses, portrayed as antics by an eccentric character, and in the case of Lady Gaga, a glamourous female at that? What better way to soften the blow to our collective ego… than holding up a mirror so we can better see our own follies and foibles, the perceptions tainted by prejudicial hatreds, self-loathing and inequality. And maybe fix a few of the serpents in our hair via Lady Gaga’s cosmic sense of humour; just in case we haven’t yet lost it altogether.
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