Lady Gaga, the musician turned actress in the recent film, A Star is Born, was nominated at the ELLE Women in Hollywood awards ceremony. She delivered a powerful speech that echoed a call to action for high-powered women in the industry.
Among attendance were Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Mia Farrow, who gathered in Beverly Hills for the annual event. Gaga opened her speech by saying she was “immensely privileged” to be in the company of so many women.
“What does it really mean to be a woman in Hollywood?” she queried the group. “We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people’s faces.”
She emphasized as Hollywood movers and shakers, the women of its circle have to fight back when their voices are silenced.
She talked about the agony over her outfit choice for the night, a common cliche when it comes to women’s focus on appearance. The dilemma was real and relatable for those of any class structure; sifting through feminine attire to portray a certain “put together” and feminine appearance.
Instead of a gown, she chose a Marc Jacobs oversized mens suit. “I felt like me today. I felt the truth of who I am while up in my gut,” she said. And then proceeded to tear up.
For many, this symbolized a resistance to standards and norms that as a female in 2018 America are a hurdle to overcome. Regardless of one’s status as a celebrity or one with wealth, second-class citizenry with an emphasis on appearance, affects those of all class hierarchies.
“As a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me what to do, I decided today to take the power back. Today I wear the pants,” she said to some clapping and cheers.
The stripping down of her identity allowed her the freedom and clarity to address the audience in a meaningful way. “I am aghast at the unjust men, and some women quite frankly, running this country,” she said.
Gaga described her revelation to be herself more today than ever. And to resist the standards of Hollywood.
She discussed sexual assault and the pains of coping with it at a young age. She emphasized she is “not brave enough to say his name”, alluding to someone in the entertainment industry.
Assaulted at 19-years-old, it was naturally a life-changing event. She described shame around the situation, the hopelessness of feeling unable to talk, and still has days where it feels like it was her fault.
By suppressing her truth around the situation, it festered in forms of various forms of mental health issues. “I was in dire need of mental health assistance,” she said. Her focus shifted to mental health awareness in the country.
Gaga has been diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia, a syndrome she describes as “a cyclone of many conditions depending on the person.” However, the stress-induced pain has been a catalyst for altruism.
Citing statistics about global mental health, she emphasized a need for change to prioritize resources for those who suffer who are not afforded the luxuries of the Hollywood elite.
“The people in this room, and the people that you have in your network have the ability to turn kindness into plutonium and change the world, for both children and adults.”
She encouraged everyone in the room to participate, and if anything, to get involved with the Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit she runs with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. Its mission is to empower youth, and inspire a kinder and braver world.
“I want to see mental health become a global priority. [Let’s] work together to heal each other.”