No matter how beautifully it is presented, flesh from a tortured animal is flesh from a tortured animal, – said Ingrid Newkirk, the president of animal rights campaign group PETA, in a statement, after Gaga’s first appearance in a meat bikini in Vogue Hommes, Japan – and many animal rights supporters agree. In fact, even those less preoccupied with animal-rights advocacy agreed, although some don’t really get how wearing raw meat was more offensive than wearing leather or fur. To these, Newkirk gave recently a pretty good explanation.
“Wearing a dress made out cuts of dead cows is offensive enough to bring comment, but someone should whisper in her ear that there are more people who are upset by butchery than who are impressed by it.” continued Newkirk. “Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn’t want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots — not too attractive, really.”
Gaga is not the first artist to trigger controversy with the use of raw meat. Andy Bloxham reminded today Telegraph’s readers of a Beatles’ album cover that featured the band dressed as butchers and draped in joints of meat and decapitated baby dolls. The Beatles tried to make a statement against the Vietnam war with that cover, yet the public opprobrium determined the record label’s management to destroy many of the unusual covers.
Gaga too tried to make a political statement, although a bit too self-centered to be seen as such:
“However, it has many interpretations, but for me this evening, if we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And, I am not a piece of meat,” Lady Gaga told Ellen DeGeneres Sunday after the VMAs.
The publicist for Lady Gaga is a team led by Amanda Silverman at 42 West.