Does Lady Gaga Empower You?

Laneia’s Team Pick:

On the heels of last Tuesday’s sad news of Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide, here’s an interesting/controversial take on how Lady Gaga’s got it all wrong when it comes to her self-help hero status. Jamey credited attending a Gaga concert to helping him accept and love himself, but Drew Magary thinks the effects of Gaga’s call for non-conformity could end up hurting these kids in the end, but not for reasons you may think. Here’s an excerpt —

“This is a quote from Gaga in a Rolling Stone interview:

My fans are a revolution. They are living proof that you don’t have to conform to anything to change the world.

Bullshit. Complete lie. If you want to change the world, you DO in fact have to conform to things. Gaga conforms all the time. She writes pop songs that conform to traditional song structures. She conforms to the music business by working for a major record label. She conforms to the media cycle by appearing on 60 Minutes when a new album comes out. This is because she’s a professional, and that’s what professionals do. They make the compromises needed to do their jobs effectively.”

Read Magary’s entire article on Deadspin: Lady Gaga Won’t Empower You For Shit.


“The problem with telling kids that they’re fabulous as is and require no further work as human beings is that it will probably end up causing them to suffer an even greater sense of self-loathing because they refuse to cast a critical eye upon themselves. It’s false pride, it’s the pride you get from someone ordering you to be proud instead of the hard-won pride you get from working hard and building relationships with people around you. And it never lasts, unless you’re that dude who created Glee and you’re a complete fuckhead.”

It’s complicated, self-esteem and self-worth — and it’s unlikely there is a “truth” to this situation and, if there is, it’s probably somewhere between the Little Monsters and Deadspin (but isn’t everything, really?).

What do you think?


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  1. I’m generally first in line to roll my eyes at current Gaga, but this–idk. She’s not actually a psychologist or a political figure, and it’s not her fault that some music fans are ALWAYS going to take the extreme view.

    It’s one thing to ask that musicians not take blatantly harmful stances (the Foo Fighters’ hopefully no-longer-the-case HIV denialism; Eminem’s everything), but asking that they anticipate the actions of obsessive fans is probably asking too much. Kids are gonna obsess. Some of them are also going to be depressed and have shit lives, and that’s awful, but it’s not the musician’s fault anymore than Columbine was Marilyn Manson’s (utter dickbag though he is).

    “Be yourself, even if you’re a weirdo” probably reinforces the Geek Social Fallacies, yeah. But most people grow up and get over those, and the ones who don’t are probably lacking in a lot of socialization that has nothing to do with musicians telling them not to conform.

    • I completely agree with you. As a fan of Gaga myself, it’s always so awkward being clumped into a group of her hardcore obsessive fans who will defend literally everything she says or does no matter how fucked up. This defense usually leads to more perpetuation of problems. I think it’s perfectly okay to hold her accountable for the things she says and does, but she, ultimately, has no control over what her fans do or say.

      • Yeah, this. One of the bands I fangirl the hardest has a weird/complicated reputation that leads to a lot of their teenage fans inventing, exaggerating, or just broadcasting personal tragedies so that they can claim the band “saved their lives” (which has clearly become HELLA awk for the band, because how do you deal with a weeping 15-year-old telling you very personal and sad details of her life? So much DNW). And yeah, their public personas and messages contributed to that, but the fans who do that are the ones making that choice.

        Similarly, people who take Lady Gaga as their, idk, personal lord and saviour and attempt unhealthy levels of nonconformity to ape her–at the end of the day, that’s on them.

        Her transphobia, her racism, her seriously weird idea of what constitutes feminism–those I’ll go after happily. But her “empowerment” schtick isn’t going to harm anyone who isn’t already set up to be easily harmed, and it’s those environmental/familial/brain-chemical starting points that deserve the focus.

        • Is that band My Chemical Romance, by any chance? Because that whole thing is definitely a complicated situation where MCR is concerned. And on a more personal, self-centered level, can at times make it awkward for me as a fan, because those particular teens dominate the perception people have of the band, and their fans :/

          • Yup, that’s the one! And it can definitely be awkward. The band itself has stepped away from that, but some fans keep thinking it’s the best way to connect.

          • I’m just gonna jump in here–the MCR thing is interesting, because there’s also this attitude that you’re not a *real* fan if MCR didn’t save your life. I do think the “MCR saved my life” thing can sometimes be somewhat legitimate, but as a member of the band pointed out, the band(‘s music) may have helped, but it was the fan that did the work. Somewhat similarly, Gaga may lead kids in a certain direction, but ultimately they’re making their own choices.

  2. Lady Gaga, personally, empowers me. Whenever I listen to her music or think about the concert I attended in January 2010, everything is okay, at least in that brief moment. I completely understand just how much she’s fucked up (with transbigoted and racist comments, as well as just seeming to be ignorant of her privilege as a white, cis, thin woman in a very white, cis, thin pop culture).

    I feel that in a lot of people’s lives, there isn’t anybody telling these people that they’re worth anything, so if Gaga can do it for them, to let them feel even an inkling of self-acceptance, then that should be allowed. Also, while obviously conformity to the norm does usually let one scrape by without too much hassle, I hate the idea that one HAS to conform.

    • ^This. Lady Gaga’s inconsistencies and problems aside, I’d rather have someone sending a message of idealized non-conformity than “realistic” conformity. Associating conformity with being a “professional” just further reinforces harmful marginalization and stereotyping, too; plus it seems kinda condescending.

      I mean fuck, some would say wearing a nice skirt or blouse to work would make me more “professional”, but it would make me miserable and actually less effective at work. Sometimes conformity itself is such a battle that conforming isn’t compromising–it’s just sacrificing for the sake of others’ ease or comfort.

  3. I really agree with Magary on this. I have a lot of problems with the way Gaga goes about her whole empowerment thing (I’m resisting calling it a schtick, because I’m under the impression she really does believe what she’s saying/selling), and this points out a lot of them. It’s similar to how “Born This Way” really got under my skin, and not in a good way. I found it unearned and pandering, and I think that’s at the heart of a lot of this—that so much of it is unearned. Being told you’re different and wonderful is great, don’t get me wrong, but this approach is a little shallow/one-note.

    Also, her response to Jamey’s suicide (here and here) is making me incredibly annoyed and upset. Anti-bullying legislation is absolutely NOT the solution. I hate that so many people these days think the way to handle any problem is through legislation. Sometimes it is, usually it isn’t. And I’d really like to know how, exactly, anti-bullying legislation works. On a technical, logistical level. How is a LAW going to stop young people from being horrible to each other? How is this going to be enforced? What are the parameters? What are the consequences? I just find the idea absurd. (I replied to her tweet, asking her how she proposes such legislation work. Unsurprisingly I did not hear back.)

    I agree, obviously, that bullying is a huge issue, and it’s tragic that we keep losing young queer people (as well as other people) because of it. But I think the focus needs to be hands-on, addressing behaviors and actions, teaching young people to be, at the very least, civil. That could, and honestly to a certain extent IS making a difference. Maybe it’s cynical, but I don’t think putting a law in place is going to do a damn thing.

    (All of which is to say, ugh, Gaga, getting more and more problematic by the day.)

    • Also, I realize I sound incredibly angry and anti-Gaga here. I really don’t think she’s all bad, and I think she’s MUCH better than a lot of what’s out there, especially in terms of idols/role models/what-have-you for young people. I just get more and more reactionary the more she’s hailed as like, the weirdo queer savior of young people. And the fact that most discussion of her tends to be either about her weirdness (she’s so strange I love it! vs. It’s a shtick and it’s worn out) or about the great social activism type stuff she’s doing. There’s more to be said, that’s less all-or-nothing, I think.

      • Magary is arguing that it’s problematic for kids to use pop-idol-worship as an excuse to avoid genuinely dealing with their problems. And I agree with that. But he lost me at his last paragraph when he started talking about “false pride” and how he, as a bullied youngster, should have focused on building a better support network for himself.

        (1) It seems like these days, EVERYBODY is claiming that they were bullied as kids. I think some people don’t understand the difference between “picked on” and “bullied.” I put Magary in this category, because he doesn’t appreciate that:

        (2) Kids who are REALLY bullied are generally so ground-down that the idea of looking for better support networks or real friends doesn’t even cross their minds. They are beaten–literally or figuratively–into assuming that they’ll be treated the same no matter where they turn. Most of them believe that the problem lies with them, not with the other kids who are bullying them. They don’t have enough sense of self-worth to think that better options are available to them.

        So if Lady Gaga gives them the lift they need to start to believe that maybe they ARE worthy of real friends, or that maybe they, themselves, AREN’T the broken ones after all–then power to those kids, and power to Lady Gaga. She’s not a substitute for real change in a kid’s life, but if she gives kids the lift they need to start trying to build that support network or find those friends, I really find it hard to see how that’s anything other than good.

        • I agree wholeheartedly with your point re: what bullying (and being bullied) really looks like.

          In high school, I was verbally and emotionally abused by one of my friends in particular, and in general treated poorly / excluded / made fun of regularly by our whole social circle.

          Sometimes I don’t know whether to call it bullying, as it was my supposed friends doling out the harshness.

          Regardless, the effects were those you described. I realized that my relationships with these people were not healthy – I felt worse after hanging out with them most of the time, rather than better – but I felt like my options were to hang out with them, or hang out with no-one. I felt so unlikeable and worthless that I thought no-one else would want to / be able to stand hanging out with me. I realized that I had incredibly low self esteem and self worth, but that only made me feel more pathetic.

          So, that sucked. I’m much better now, got the heck out of high school and went to university and made some new amazing friends, no longer hate myself or cry every day wondering what I did to provoke that day’s abuse, etc.

          However, though I was out to all my ‘friends’ in high school, my sexual orientation (or at least the part where I liked girls) was never the focus of their tormenting, and though they called me and my clothes ‘ugly’ on a daily basis, enjoyed making up little stories ending in my death, occasionally poured sugar or parmesan cheese in my hair (funny in retrospect, but just another small soul crushing interaction in a continuous string of them at the time), and so on and so forth, they never gave me heck about being queer, and generally refrained from using ‘fag’ or ‘faggot’ entirely, and ‘gay’ in a pejorative sense, at my request/insistence.

          I am so thankful that I have never been bullied because of my orientation, and my heart goes out to everyone who has – though I am queer and have been bullied, I would never say that I’ve been a victim of and/or survived homophobic or biphobic bullying, as that simply isn’t true.

          This is related to one of major concern with many of the later It Gets Better videos – they seem to want to cover all forms/instances/etc of bullying, which is unrealistic and not especially helpful IMO. It seems like being bullied for some aspect of yourself that you’re in denial about, or struggling to come to terms with, something private and intense, something that you may or may not be kicked out of your home for ‘admitting’, something that is frequently mis/underrepresented in media (though in the case of LGB folks, a lot less poorly than in previous years/eons), is a whole other kettle of particularly poisonous fish.

          With respect to the article in question, no, telling someone ‘you are perfect and you don’t ever need to change/grow/etc.’ is not really useful. But telling people that they deserve better and that they are worth it is incredibly powerful, I think. Telling them that no-one deserves to be bullied, to be told that they should kill themselves, to be always sent away when important gossip is about to be discussed, etc. is important. And telling them that though it is tricky and confusing and painful to sort out what is awful stuff about yourself you’ve been brainwashed into thinking by your classmates or friends or ads on tv, and what is stuff you could and should work on, as in fact no one is perfect and we’re all works in progress, you are worth that hard work, and you have just as much potential as any other person – a whole fuckton of it to be precise – is important.

          Also, I would just like to clarify that one’s appearance, excluding tattoos of hate symbols I suppose, is not related to one’s moral character, and in fact no one, regardless of how many piercings they may have (to use an example from the article), ‘deserves it’ or is ‘asking for it’. That’s classic victim blaming right there, and it’s bullshit. Being mean isn’t actually EVER ok.

          Thus concludes my weekly comment-novel. <3 A.

    • Regarding the legislation point: it might seem useless now, but including LGBTQ kids in antibullying legislation is actually an important foundational step for hopefully much greater change. In most public school systems, new programs or curricular changes don’t usually happen without some sort of legal mandate or policy, especially where civil rights are concerned, or without a legal action. There’s a lot of inertia in big bureaucratic systems, and in a litigious country like the US, the law is sometimes the only thing to prod ’em into budging towards progress.

      No, a law won’t make kids magically be nicer to each other–but it may require principals to implement trainings for their staff about antigay bullying, or it can give a student a weapon while battling school administrators so she can go to prom with her girlfriend. Otherwise, a lot of school districts will unfortunately continue to ignore queer youth and bullying altogether, because they’re “not mandated” to care.

      • Definitely, and thank you for clarifying. Because laws that facilitate that kind of education (aka a hands-on approach) are GREAT! Having a mandate to go through trainings, or to include antibullying content in curriculum, would help facility the kind of involved, behavior-focused work that I think really can make a difference. Especially if effort is made to include LGBTQ issues. I’m taking umbrage with her insistence that bullying itself should be illegal.

  4. I think Lady Gaga can be empowering as long as you don’t get 100% enmeshed in her schtick. I love Born this Way, it really does make me feel great to blast it on my ipod when I’m in the gym or dance to it in the club. I love that she has a great message, but sometimes it’s just too much or too silly.

  5. Kids like Jamey Rodemeyer need someone to be telling them that they have nothing to be ashamed of. She’s trying to empower people who believe that they need to change who they are to fit in. It’s not about ignoring negative qualities in yourself, but accepting what you can’t change -and shouldn’t change- certain things about yourself (orientation for example.)

  6. You can’t just tell people to go fuck themselves and all of a sudden you’re a revolutionary; you actually have to fight the norms of the industry.

    I consider myself a fan, but anyone who tells themselves that she’s a brilliant musician because she writes original songs needs to wake the fuck up, because there is so much music and art that actually turns shit upside down, and so many listeners don’t even know about it.

    Sigh. So many music feelings. Sorry about the language and all.
    But in all truth, I’m not really that sorry. #feeeeeeeelingssssssss

  7. I don’t think that Lady Gaga is going to save the world (or myself) but what I do know is that I love her for the fact that she is vehemently supportive of homosexuals. At her level of popularity and social influence, there aren’t that many others that are as open about that topic as she is. And as a gay who grew up in a small country town, isolated from any sort of gay community, I appreciated those few that were loud and proud when I was growing up. The teenage years can be a very fragile time and I don’t doubt for a second that some kids find a lot of hope and self-esteem in Lady Gaga’s message, because they aren’t hearing it anywhere else.

  8. I think she uses her mega-power to raise awareness and fight fights (with Target, or the POTUS), regardless of outcome, that very few others in her position are willing to fight. You can complicate that by dissecting it, certainly, but she partially fills the gap where “celebrities tenaciously speaking out against ” is concerned.

  9. I agree with the article in that people often forget that Gaga is a performer-she has fought her way to the top, in a way that consists of constantly evolving to impress and outrage, and more recently to empower.
    I don’t think that she is by any means a bad person, and I’m sure she does want to help in a way, but at the end of the day she is still just a talented, albeit lost young woman in the big world of Hollywood.
    That might sound dramatic, but eh, whateva. I often feel bad for Gaga in a way.

  10. I get what this article is trying to say, but honestly. Honestly. She’s telling people to be okay with themselves. And this is…wrong? bzwuh?!

    Gaga is complex, just like any public figure. She’s not perfect, but nobody is. She can be problematic, just like Amanda Palmer can be problematic, just like JKR can be problematic, just like Obama or Kevin Smith or any other very famous/cult-like figure that I can think of right now. So let’s hold her accountable, but also realize at the same time the enormity of her impact and what she’s trying to do, because she’s really the only one who’s trying this hard.

    Also, can we acknowledge that Gaga is A PART of the LGBTQ community? Every single article I read about her talking down or pandering or condescending or however you’d like to describe it with her Born This Way album seems to approach it as if she’s a straight person telling the LGBTQ community to be okay with themselves. Guys, she’s bi! She’s a part of the acronym! So many people forget this. Is it so radical to think that maybe she’s making songs that she wishes she’d had to listen to when she was a teenager?

    • From Magary’s article:
      “The problem with telling kids that they’re fabulous as is and require no further work as human beings is that it will probably end up causing them to suffer an even greater sense of self-loathing because they refuse to cast a critical eye upon themselves.”

      I’m of two minds here. On the one hand, if someone is hurting and feeling low on self-esteem, it seems very right to tell them that nothing is wrong with them. But is this a true statement? I know that there ARE things that are wrong with me. This is not a bad thing.

      It seems like we have this idea that we are perfect beings, or ought to be, and are bad horrible naughty people when we aren’t perfect. so as often as we can, we will defend our choices with tooth and nail to make others and (more importantly) ourselves believe that we did not in fact do any wrong. At least, this is something I do (ownage).

      in the interest of not alienating everyone by assuming that what i do is universal, let me change to the first person. It is terribly hard and painful to objectively look at my own choices and ask myself, “did i really do the best thing?” But I think that this will help me in the end. Because I want to learn and grow.

      Side note: I REALLY like that Alanis Morissette song “Incomplete”. I listen to it on repeat when I am feeling down about making bad choices. Then I listen to “Tapes”. And finish with “Giggling Again for No Reason.”

      However I feel like Gaga’s statements are aimed at kids who are dealing with unjust feelings of lesser-quality-ness (er, sorry, 4 hrs sleep); and moreover, it is nigh impossible to give a sound byte that says all you wish to say (including exceptions).

      • I think there’s a difference between looking at oneself through a critical lens and self-hatred. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive, either. So this whole article is weird. Lady Gaga is not the problem. People telling gay kids that they’re horrible and need to change is the problem. All Lady Gaga’s trying to do is give her gay fans something to feel good about. I don’t think her intent is to tell them to turn a blind eye to criticism, but to turn a blind eye to anyone who puts them down for things they can’t change about themselves, like their sexual orientation.

    • She is making songs that she listened to when she was a teenager. And she’s doing things that artists did when she was a teenager.

      “Express yourself. Respect yourself, hey hey.” -Madonna

      “I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors are beautiful like a rainbow.” -Cyndi Lauper

      “Express yourself. You gotta be you and only you. Express yourself and let me be me.” -Salt n Pepa

      She’s really not the only one who’s trying this hard. Especially when it comes to Cyndi Lauper who founded the True Colors fund for LGBT equality and just opened a homeless shelter for LGBT youth.

      I’m really trying not to diss Lady Gaga here. But I think it’s rude to dismiss the work that other people are doing and have done.

  11. I don’t know how I feel about all of these feelings everyone suddenly has about Lady Gaga.

    Guys, Lady Gaga is what, 25 years old? TWENTY-FIVE. She’s achieved success in an industry that’s really hard to be successful in, and with that comes the fans. All the fans. The fact that she recognizes and acknowledges her fans the way she does, firstly, is a huge credit to her – how many successful actors/singers/etc talk about how they “love their fans” but will never sign an autograph for a kid who waited hours for them, you know?

    The truth about why I like Lady Gaga is because she seems so much like one of us – like me and my friends. She was a kid who drank and did drugs and ran around New York in no pants, singing in crappy bars, grappling with eating issues, having sex with men and women, writing in her diary and trying to make it. I know people like her. I like those people. (Also, she may kill me for making this parallel, but anyone who ever read autowin knows of someone who was like her.) She is this person just like us, with more exhibitionist and flagrantly artistic tendencies perhaps, who just wants to make her fans feel like a part of a movement and give them something to hold on to.

    I agree that telling kids they’re perfect exactly as they are now isn’t truthful. Gaga isn’t perfect exactly as she is now. We’re all humans. We live. We do what we think is right, and those views change. But the community she has created around ideals of acceptance and love – and that they are so mainstreamed into public media outlets, not confined to small “queer communities” – shouldn’t be knocked by cynical writers, or people that don’t find her helpful.

  12. I think Lady Gaga and maybe some of her fans are conflating empowerment with comfort.

    When I was a teenager I had a Walkman permanently attached to my body. Whenever I was bullied or felt like I couldn’t make it through the school day, I’d listen to music and it made me feel better just long enough to make it through. But that’s not empowerment, that’s comfort.

    What’s closer to the truth is that I had a dependency on music, like a security blanket. And maybe that’s okay in the short-term when you’re young. But at some point you have to actually do something, and feel like you can accomplish something other than just being weird.

    Some of the artists I listened to as a teen did inspire me to do things. Like, Heart made me want to play guitar. And I did. I learned how to play guitar. I spent hours practicing until my fingertips felt like they were on fucking fire. Empowerment came from learning how to do something and getting good at it, not directly from guitarist Nancy Wilson, herself.

    So, yeah, celebrities and artists can be empowering, but only in the sense that they can give you the idea to take the initiative to actively do something empowering.

    The Wizard of Oz didn’t give anything to the Cowardly Lion that he didn’t already have.

  13. Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I love Gaga. Mostly, I’m in love with dancing to her music while I’m in the shower. (I will likely injure myself one of these days.)

    But Gaga’s message empowers me kind of in the same way as my You Do You sticker does… it’s something to keep in mind as I try to navigate through life. It’s a grounded (?) sense of inspiration.

    And, honestly, I think “paws up” is sort of stupid. I have hands, dammit. But I’ll throw them up at her concert, so there’s that.


  14. Monster Ball was an incredibly empowering and affirming event for me. Sure Gaga is definitely totes craycraycrayzay, but she really, truly, earnestly (or at least does the damned best job faking sincerity I have ever seen on that scale!) wants to be part of creating a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive world. I can’t fault her for that.

  15. What’s wrong with having different viewpoints? What’s wrong with celebrating who you INTRINSICALLY are? What’s wrong with taking that one part of you, the part that people will tease you about, hate you for, decriminate against you for, and look down on you because of, and turning it into something that you can look at with pride? She’s not saying people shouldn’t try. She’s not saying “Don’t practice making music, or doing math, there’s no point in getting better because your basic addition skillz and ability to almost sight read are fabulous as is” she’s saying that who you are as a person is quite rad. And I agree with her.

  16. I feel that Lady Gaga stands for the right things… especially with gay rights and now with the recent avocation for a law against bullying. I hate her music, hate her face, but appreciate what she is trying to do and the change she is trying to make. Lady Gaga is the voice for all the little people that are not heard. She has the power to be heard and to have others be heard too. I don’t like Lady Gaga’s music, I hate how she tries so hard to be different, but I support her… I support her efforts in making a difference with certain issues.

  17. Eh, I wasn’t that impressed by Magary’s article. He whines about Gaga’s popularity but taking quotes out of context doesn’t equal telling kids they are perfect and can’t improve on anything. He seems oddly mad that kids might be okay with themselves and not feel like they’re shit just because they’re different.

  18. Ok I guess I am going to write a novel about this. And it’s going to be angry. Fair warning.

    I don’t want to get all sticky share-y here but I was bullied so badly throughout my whole life that I have PTSD and a whole slew of other attendant issues. Yes, magnified by other losses of bodily autonomy and attacks on my sense of self, but the point remains that the absolutely vicious and abusive bullying played a large part.

    In light of which, well. I hate to jump on the OMG I AM OFFENDED train, but holy shit I can’t help but take issue with the tone I perceive in much of this, which is a snotty omg kids should be in to stuff that’s APPROVED and EMPOWERING but only by MY DEFINITION OF EMPOWERING.

    What relationships I did have in my childhood, friend wise, were just as toxic and abusive as people who were outright hostile. And let me tell you, if you haven’t experienced the kind of system wide abuse I did, most adults don’t give a single shit about what the kids in their school are doing. I ran in to almost as many emotionally stunted, sociopathic teachers and educators as I did kids. NO ONE helped me, for the most part. NO ONE.

    You know what did? Books. Music. People like Lady Gaga. (my particular obsession was Alice in Chains, among others) Were AiC a perfect band with perfect politics? No. But they were what I needed. It’s why I love 30 Seconds to Mars now, because their songs are inspirational and their fanbase reaches out to people who might be labeled misfits in more mainstream outlets and gives them (us) a place to belong.

    Recently the Last Herald Mage trilogy was featured here under the header of queer books. I found that when I was 11 and I needed it like I needed water. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it emotionally stunted and juvenile? Yeah. But it had a queer, bullied kid as the main character and even at thirty I can see the deep and profound impact it had on me through the simple fact of FINALLY seeing myself reflected in something.

    Also I am sick of hearing that Gaga is participating in this or that -ism. I am not going to police it obvs since she talks about groups I am not a part of as much as she talks about groups I can claim membership in, (and I am not in love with the idea of birth equaling any kind of destiny) but you know what I take from it? She uses words that were used to hurt me and makes them powerful. SHE SINGS A SONG THAT USES THE WORD TRANSGENDER. SHE SINGS A SONG THAT SAYS DISABLED. And it’s positive. The spirit is positive. That’s HUGE, and it’s huge to kids too, I can guarantee you it is. Don’t take that away because it might be imperfect through other eyes, because you may think loving an artist is stupid. It’s not. Sometimes it’s all kids have.

  19. I wish someone had told me in school that it’s okay that sports and social graces don’t come as naturally to me as academics and music did, but that didn’t mean that those things weren’t worth working at and improving. Instead, I mostly got that either I should just accept and embrace that I would never be good at those things, or that I needed to do a complete 180 on how I interacted with people if I didn’t want to be friendless for life.

    So I agree with this article. While it’s important to be yourself and celebrate what makes you awesome, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your faults and working to change those. Of course, the problem is that kids rely too much on others to tell them what their faults are – and end up thinking that awesome things, like being gay or dressing oddly or being smart, are “faults” because other people pick on them for it.

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