I Am Not A Piece of Meat – Lady Gaga and the Meat Dress by Hannah Byrne


Celebrities and people in the public eye are very aware of image. They try to crate it, maintain it, uphold and not tarnish it. Whether they do this by their actions or in a non verbal way like by their dress, everything they are doing is usually very calculated. 

One celebrity who is not shy and constantly wearing outlandish and avant-garde costumes is Lady Gaga. Although she had been known to push boundaries with her previous outfits, or by showing up to an award ceremony in an egg, she really pushed the envelope at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Lady Gaga showed up in a full meat ensemble. Everything from her hat, to her dress, shoes and clutch were made of real animal meat.

Her shocking outfit left everyone talking. People were wondering what sort of statement was she trying to make? Was she trying to offend the very intense animals rights group PETA? Was she giving a big middle finger to vegans? What on earth was she trying to tell the world? The question soon became answered when Lady Gage herself told Ellen Degeneres the message she was trying to portray. Ellen asked Lady Gaga what the meaning behind her outfit was, and this was her response.

“Well, it’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian….I, as you know, am the most judgment-free human being on Earth. However, it has many interpretations — but for me this evening it’s that if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones. AND, [holds up Japanese Vogue, on the cover of which Gaga appeared in a (real) meat bikini], I am not a piece of meat.”

Although Lady Gaga looked like a piece of meat at the awards show, she was in fact trying to make a nonverbal statement that she is not one. She stands on stage, singing wearing crazy outfits, dancing and entertaining, and although she is in a sense a business, she does not want to be objectified. She is a human and wants to be treated like one.

Although the meat dress might seem like the very extreme of making a nonverbal statement, it was in fact effective. As we as learned in our class communication can be perceived many different ways and through many different outlets. Dress being one of them. Dynamism and charisma are highly effective ways in communication nonverbally and made up of energy, enthusiasm, expressiveness and self-confidence. Lady Gaga taking the leap of faith and wearing her dress made completely out of meat shows true dynamism and charisma. Although she may look like a piece of meat, she is in fact far from that.


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