A close reading of Beyoncé’s Video phone illuminates the strategic interplay of subjectivities in a video that essentially disrupts and complicates heteronormative notions of viewing.
In this analysis, the workings of female power versus the male gaze lead to a theoretical conception of gender that contextualizes masculinity and hegemonic femininity. Ultimately, it is in the aestheticized landscape of Video phone that a counter-argument to mainstream heterosexual male imaginary emerges, one where the posthuman figure, in all its hyperreality, is musicalized in a way that defies all conventions.
This according to “Gender, sexuality and the politics of looking in Beyoncé’s Video phone (featuring Lady Gaga)” by Lori Burns and Marc Lafrance, an essay included in The Routledge research companion to popular music and gender (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017, pp. 102–16).
Below, the video in question.
Performances by Lady Gaga, particularly her music video Bad romance, exemplify postmodern America’s preoccupation with spectacle. They expose how the gaze, as a public-driven or self-imposed zone of terror and destruction, inscribes potentialities of renewal, wherein the subject’s authenticity is reasserted through the very process of commodification, or a kind of singeing of the image.
Such crossings constitute what Baudrillard calls “a [postmodern] materialization of aesthetics where…art mime[s] its own disappearance”; they also expose the complex dystopias underpinning America’s bad romance with its own renewal.
This according to “Doing the Lady Gaga dance: Postmodern transaesthetics and the art of spectacle in Don DeLillo’s The body artist” by Pavlina Radia (Canadian review of American studies XLIV/2 [summer 2014] pp. 194–213).
Today is Lady Gaga’s 30th birthday! Below, the video in question.