I walk a lot. It’s my ‘me’ time, my thinking time, my blasting tunes and making up dance routines in my head time – it’s also my ‘plan my writing and rehearse in my head what I want to type at my computer’ time. Although it dawned on me last night that after all my usual walking hours over the past week I still didn’t actually have any decisive plan or topic that I wanted to address on my blog which was unsettling. The main reason was because I was preoccupied thinking about something topical in the news that happened and I spent some considerable thinking space trying to make sense of it. However I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to discuss it here because it is topical and sometimes being topical invites a lot of backlash for expressing your opinion. But sod it. Today, I have decided to embrace a little Gestalt Therapy and address what’s at the forefront of my mind otherwise my attempts at talking about anything else are not going to be at my best. Plus hopefully it’ll make me feel better about the whole thing.

The thing that has been bugging me is the whole Lady Gaga vomit incident at SXSW festival in Texas. For those who are maybe unfamiliar with what happened, during a performance of one particular song, a vomit artist regurgitated green paint all over Lady Gaga followed by vomiting some other black substance all over her too. Now, for obvious reasons, this story has attracted a lot of attention and the general reaction is understandably outrage and confusion as to what this was all about – myself included, and it disturbed me slightly because I am a Lady Gaga fan. I love what she does: She’s unique, she’s refreshing, she’s not a typical PR manufactured pop singer – she’s interesting. I like her music, I love her use of style and costumes, she doesn’t conform, embraces her individuality, speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to be weird. These are all qualities I admire because it demonstrates confidence and sends a message of just be who you are and don’t care what anyone else thinks.

However the vomit incident unsettled me because I couldn’t – and still don’t – understand it. There has been a lot of speculation that the stunt was glamorising bulimia which is a disturbing thought in itself, but I honestly don’t think Lady Gaga would be that mindless. Yes, I do think the whole idea is extremely misguided; to have someone stick their fingers down their throat and vomit all over you in a public forum – that image on its own is I imagine extremely upsetting for anyone who has or is suffering with bulimia and that is irresponsible.

The thing is though Lady Gaga has been open about her own experiences with eating disorders and has admitted that she herself has suffered from bulimia. Why on earth would she glamorise something that has no doubt caused her pain in the past? Therefore I genuinely don’t think that glamorising eating disorders was her intention. There needs to be another message at play here which is being overlooked.

I’m trying to be objective and observe the situation from another angle. The vomit stunt was performed during the song ‘Swine’ and I’m going to play devil’s advocate with some of her lyrics from her song which include ‘You’re just a pig inside a human body’ and ‘You’re so disgusting, you’re just a pig inside’.

Now I know from personal experience that these are words I have used to describe myself and my body from a young age and were very prominent when I was binging. I don’t know what Lady Gaga was referencing to when she was writing that song but I don’t think it would be a crazy hypothesis to suggest that it could be about or has been influenced by how she felt about herself whilst in the midst of an eating disorder. Perhaps instead of glamorising bulimia, maybe in some sort of way she was trying to shock people into realising the reality of it?

I honestly don’t know. It’s hard when someone you admire and respect does something you’re uncomfortable with and I know a part of me is trying justify her actions. Ultimately we won’t truly know what Lady Gaga’s intentions and motives were unless she decides to explain them which I really hope she does. She has a huge fan base and I’m sure a lot of her fans look up to her because she has been honest about her own eating disorders and I feel she needs to take responsibility for that. Speaking as someone who fits that category, I would very much appreciate an explanation otherwise I am left scratching my head and I don’t want to be left a fool for being a fan of someone who would mindlessly put something like this on stage without thinking about the consequences or how it would make her fans feel.


Danielle Stewart

My name is Danielle Stewart and for almost 10 years I have suffered on and off with eating disorders. It is a subject I am extremely passionate about, especially living in such a body conscious and appearance obsessed world which I believe is very dangerous to how we view and think about ourselves. I feel that eating disorders are an epidemic waiting to happen and possibly already begun. Since they are incredibly secretive and isolating disorders, it is difficult to ever know the true number of people affected. Therefore my blog is dedicated to sharing my own personal thoughts and experiences, discussing the psychology behind eating disorders and spreading the word on articles of interest. The more we start talking more openly and frequently about eating disorders, the more help and action will be generated as well as reducing the fear of admitting and seeking help for this mental illness. If nothing else, I want you to know that you are not alone in what you're going through.

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