Besides her propensity towards platform shoes and big hats, Lady Gaga is best known for her zealousness. The take home lesson from a Gaga album is one of empowerment and self expression. Her gung-ho enthusiasm for spreading this message has been genuinely inspiring for her millions of little monsters, and an irritant for non-believers. She’s made it her mission to make every last one of her fans feel good about themselves. That’s an admirable ambition, especially compared to pop stars who make it their mission to purchase as many gold-plated toilet seats as possible before the world stops buying their singles. I think Gaga’s messiah complex is adorable, but she does have another side. There’s a second theme that always runs through her music, a less charitable one, but if anything even more personal. It’s the bad romance theme. From what’s known of her personal life, she seems to have spent most of her adult years pining and writing songs for some no-account bartender who keeps dumping her. She understands that you can be as empowered a strong female as you can, but sometimes you’re still a doormat, and you want to be. Love can be beautiful, or it can be degrading. Because sometimes you want nothing more than to lower yourself, make an offering of yourself, degrade yourself, cheapen yourself, change yourself, prostrate yourself, sell yourself, whatever it takes to get his attention even for a minute. You want to be his hooker. That’s not exactly healthy, or empowering, but it’s something lots of otherwise liberated women go through. Maybe some of us always have such a high self-value that we never allow ourselves to sink that low, or maybe some of us are always lucky in love. But a lot more of us are drawn to drama, attracted to dysfunction, and inexplicably turned-on by inequality of power. We like to grovel, and we like our bad romances. And of course, we like bad boys who treat us poorly, because good boys are wimpy and boring. Yeah, sure there’s lots of you who’ll say “that’s bullshit, I only like nice guys!” Well, good for you, but I like bad boys, and it sure sounds like Lady Gaga likes bad boys, with all the trouble they bring. It’s the eternal conundrum – when you can have any man except the one you really want, what’s the point of being empowered? Is it because you’re simply attracted to what you can’t have or what you know will be bad for you? Maybe you’ve become spoiled by all the attention and have set the bar at an angle nobody could ever hope to match. We’re lucky, us modern women, we have more freedom than we know what to do with, and we become confused. What we love in Lady Gaga is how she’ll wave the flag and encourage us to be our strongest, proudest, most empowered selves, but she knows just as well as anyone that in love we’re still helpless, stupid, and self-defeating.