English listening with Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga says Glamour magazine made her too beautiful

NOTEHover your mouse over the blue words to see the definitions of these words. Well that’s what Lady Gaga thinks and she was not afraid to tell Glamour Magazine that she didn’t like how her photo was airbrushed and altered.

"I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft."

-- Lady Gaga

She didn’t stop her criticism there. Lady Gaga was recently chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year for 2013 and her photo was featured on the magazine’s December 2013 cover above.

Instead of wearing one of her outlandish costumes she was dressed more conservatively and looked more like a fashion model.

Perhaps she looks a bit too glamorous and beautiful? She also told Glamour to change their behavior:

"It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers... When the covers change, that's when culture changes."


Remember, she said this during her acceptance speech for the award Glamour Magazine was giving her!

A strong, bold advocate for others

Since Lady Gaga is known for supporting those who are different and vulnerable it’s not surprising that she would tell young people to "fight back against the forces that make them feel like they're not beautiful."

And Glamour magazine named her a Woman of the 2013 because she is bold and a strong advocate for people who are different and bullied.

But still I’m not sure Glamour expected her to slam them at their own awards.

The use of Photoshop and other software to digitally alter photos is well known but the effects of these images can be very powerful.

This was pointed out by Cameron Russell in the TED Talk we featured in one of our TED Tuesdays discussions. Cameron Russell also talked about definitions of beauty and how what we see as beautiful today is a legacy shaped by biology and social opinions.

Lady Gaga’s comments in the magazine article in Glamour magazine echo those sentiments beautifully: When asked if she considers herself beautiful Lady Gaga responded:

"Not conventionally beautiful. If there was some sort of mathematical equation for beauty, I don’t know if I would be the algorithm. I’ve always been OK with that. I’m not a supermodel. That’s not what I do. What I do is music. I want my fans to feel the way I do, to know what they have to offer is just as important, more important, than what’s happening on the outside.”

Watch the video to practice your English listening skills

You can turn on the subtitles to see the words as Lady Gaga is speaking. Simply click on the little box in the lower right-hand corner of the video that says "cc"  (that stands for closed captions).

Your turn to practice

Your Turn: What do you think? Time to to practice your English writing skills. Some possible questions you could answer:
  • Does altering magazine photos have damaging effects on the readers who see them?
  • Magazines alter photos more and more…. will this ever stop?
  • How important are looks in your society?
  • Are looks as important for men as women?

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