Trickster figure

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  • Publié le : 26 mars 2011
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Topic : Discuss the meaning of the Trickster figure. Do you think the transgressive artist is a contemporary embodiment of this figure ?
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behaviour. According to Lewis Hyde, if trickster "stirsto life on the open road, if he embodies ambiguity, if he steals fire to invent new technologies, if he plays with all boundaries and so on, then he must still be among us". Transgressive artists nowadays appear to present many characteristics of this mythological figure through the way they play tricks on popular culture, at once criticizing it and exploiting it, Lady Gaga being a convincingexample. The singer represents a spectacle of American pop music and fame culture. Since the release of her debut album The Fame in 2008, her presence has flooded world culturescapes. While her music has certainly attracted pop culture’s fleeting attention, it is her persona that has secured the most lasting fascination. The artist explained her will to deconstruct the very pop culture that createsand worships her, and to explore and make problematic the cliché of the pop icon while flourishing in the role itself. We'll explain in this essay in what Lady Gaga can be assimilated to a modern trickster figure, by discussing her persona in relation to mythological tricksters characteristics.
To begin, all standard tricksters appear to be males. First, because they belong to patriarchalmythologies. Second, there might be female tricksters who have been ignored. Finally, it may be that trickster stories articulate some distinctions between men and women, so that even in a matriarchal society this figure is a male. However, it is often said that famous tricksters are not male but androgynous or of "indeterminate sexuality" (1998,p335). For instance, in various myths Loki andWakdjunkaga transformed themselves into women, while Hermes was often represented in statuary as a hermaphrodite. The trickster’s main quality is its indefinableness, likewise this indefinable quality also defines Lady Gaga. When rumours circulated that Lady Gaga was a hermaphrodite, the singer neither affirmed nor denied the gossip, the artist characterizes herself as androgynous. Indeed, the name LadyGaga itself implies some contradicting ideas. If the word 'Lady' can qualify a woman of a superior social position, a sign of nobility, it can also evoke a drag queen title. Therefore, on being introduced to Lady Gaga, the artist takes the risk of embracing a ‘low brow’ drag queen name. The drag queen, as she constructs a feminine identity, by investing it with all the cliché signifiers offemininity, deconstructs the dictatorship of gender. By definition, the drag queen frightens and destabilizes people when she points out the artificiality of the concept of femininity in our society. Through signifying herself as a drag queen, Lady Gaga locates herself amongst these discourses on gender normality. Lady Gaga is questioning what is being a constructed 'lady', but also a woman and a man.Then, it is unsurprising that Lady Gaga has been rumoured to be a man or a hermaphrodite. She threatens mainstream ideology with her polymorphous gender and her aggressive sexuality. Moreover, at a photoshoot for Q Magazine, she appears topless with a strap-on dildo in her tight pants. In the Telephone video, she is stripped of her clothes by two transgender prison guards and jumps onto the prisonbars to reveal her fully-naked (besides a pair of fishnets) body. Her genitals are blurred out. A prisoner in the all-female ward says, “I told you she didn’t have a dick,” and another replies “too bad.” However, by blocking out her genitals Lady Gaga is neither confirming nor denying the rumours. Therefore if a male audience is aroused by Lady Gaga while she 'might be a man', this questions his...