Lady Gaga Reflects on ‘Til It Happens to You’ and Rape Culture
When Lady Gaga released "Til It Happens to You," a song she co-wrote with Diane Warren for the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground, fans were once again treated to the "Born This Way" hitmaker rightly using her fame to fight for social justice.
Mother Monster sat down for a TimesTalk with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni last night (December 10) to discuss the documentary and her original Grammy-nominated song. She was joined by her co-writer Warren, as well as by The Hunting Ground's director Kirby Dick and its producer Amy Ziering.
In terms of the video for "Til It Happens to You," Gaga explains her decision not to appear in it, stating that she considered the following hypothetical: "what if I were to align myself with this project and somehow leave a stench of inauthenticity all around it where people would not focus on the message?" Ultimately, she says, "I wanted it to be about the song and the message."
Part of that message, she says, is putting a stop to the problematic trend of victim-blaming, which threatens to discourage victims from coming forward in the future. "Don't you always find the naysayers that are going ‘Are those women really telling the truth?,’ Gaga asks. "When women come forward with any sort of sexual grievance, it's always ‘Oh, are you sure that happened?’ And you know, in the society, so much pressure is put on women to be beautiful. How could you do that? How could you put so much pressure on women — and men! — to be beautiful, to be successful, and then, when they are raped, to say ‘What were you wearing?’ or ‘How were you portraying yourself?’ This is like, we can't win."
In terms of enacting this change, however, Gaga looks not to our politicians but to the people around her. "I'm looking at everyone in this room," she says. "I mean, you are culture. So if you care, and if your friend is going to rape someone in your fraternity or sorority, or in your school, or in a work situation, or in an alleyway outside a restaurant, whatever it is that your job is, if you say something and if you are a part of that greater world change, that is more powerful than any single person that's in office."
Watch the full TimesTalks discussion below to hear more about Gaga's thoughts on the project and her own experience with sexual assault.
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