Gaga debuts wheelchair mermaid alter egoJul 15 03:39
We all know Lady Gaga has a penchat for the bizarre, and her latest persona, Yuyi the Mermaid, a wheelchair-using siren with a black tail donned in a black funeral shroud, has been causing some major controversy.
Gaga debuted her at a recent concert in Sydney, Australia during her performance of "You and I," and pissed some people off so bad she got egged when gay clubbing post-show. Personally, I’m in love with her new persona. I've always contested that mermaids are a natural to combine with a wheelchair because they would need one if they ever went on land. Plus, as someone who's dressed up as Gaga for Halloween (pic), she's making it a breeze to cosplay her if you can't walk.
But maaaan, this in-mourning mermaid is a crazy trip. What does it mean, Gaga? Are you attending Ariel's funeral? And the mere fact she had the balls to go on-stage in a wheelchair (not many celebs would willingly be seen in a wheelchair; even if it was part of an act), is to me way cool. Not surprisingly however, the shtick has pissed off a lot of disability advocates. They say her act glorifies using a wheelchair, something that has upset those who are working vehemently to get out of their wheelchairs, like spinal cord injury research advocates (read their criticism here).
I see their point, but here’s the deal: She’s an artist, disability is conveyed in art all the time. I’m not offended nor do I think she’s using her fame is a misdirected way. What’s she’s doing is true-as-day pop art - bizarre - and its being done very Gaga; over-the-top and theatrical.
Disability, even though it sucks, is part of the human experience, and is therefore open-season to artistic expression. There is no reason her portraying someone with a disability directly glorifies being in a wheelchair. I will admit the shtick highlights disability, but it does not promote it. Highlight vs. promote are two different things. I actually see some positive coming out of this. The shtick may start getting fans to be more comfortable around wheelchairs. She even has plans to feature Yuyi in a full-length video from her new album, Born This Way.
All I know is that hell yes, it sucks we can’t walk, but in the meantime, I’d rather have people be as comfortable around my wheelchair as possible, and Gaga, with her crazy Yuki the Mermaid alter ego, can't hurt. But Gaga, you should also donate funds to research too, fyi, as that would be a classy gesture.
To see pics of Yuyi the mermaid in action and judge for yourself, click here
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1. Hillary P. | Jul 31 11:05
Hey Tiff...I absolutely love this! Since my injury, I have always been enamoured with mermaids for many of the same reasons you mention...my next tattoo will be mermaids (I feel we have a lot in common with them). Great article!
2. ladybug2535 | Aug 06 11:33
As a wheelchair user I don't find it offensive at all--nor do the majority of other disabled people online. If it brings disability out of the shadows and makes it more familiar and "friendly" then all the better. Wheelchairs and crutches are simply tools and treating them as something to be shunned and hidden only makes them something to be ashamed of--and by extension, illness or disability.
Disability buzz, travel, fashion and dating — fun things to amp up everyday wheeling life.
Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.