On March 7, the Russian city of St. Petersburg passed a law against gay “propaganda” and “promotion,” banning and imposing fines for gay groups, books, periodicals, websites, Pride events, and pretty much anything else that alludes to queer identity. As a result, Russian journalists called for boycotts of the city, including direct appeals to several foreign entities who are sponsoring or hosting events in St. Petersburg. Among the big players on the list, which includes companies such as Mercedes-Benz and PepsiCo, is a particularly surprising name: Madonna, who plays St. Petersburg on her upcoming tour. However, the Material Girl refuses to back down, and intends to use her tour stop as a means to advocate for gay and lesbian rights. Bloomberg reports:
Madonna’s first tour in Russia drew the ire of orthodox Christian activists. Now she vows to defy a new law against promoting homosexuality when she performs in President-elect Vladimir Putin’s hometown in August.
“I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed,” the pop star said by e-mail late yesterday. “I’m a freedom fighter.”
“I don’t run away from adversity,” Madonna, who has used her fame to support gay rights, said in the e-mail. “I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”
Somewhere, Lady Gaga is ripping a pair of glasses made out of octopus tentacles and diamonds off her face and throwing them to the ground in frustration that someone else would dare challenge her crown as
Mother Fag Hag pop music freedom fighter for oppressed gays everywhere.
Speaking of Gaga and her ongoing battle with Madonna for gay relevance, some interesting comparisons come up when considering Madge’s new music video, “Girl Gone Wild:”
The video follows a pretty decent recipe: take the hot all-male Ukranian dance group Kazaky, add a dash of “Vogue,” a pinch of “Express Yourself,” baste with a heavy dose of “Erotica” and top everything off with a sprinkle of “Justify My Love.” After all, what better way to reclaim the gays from the Lady than to directly reference the work you made when you were considered their Queen? However, in a strange twist of reciprocity, despite assembling pretty much every gay Madonna trope, the “Girl Gone Wild” video somehow still ends up evoking Gaga — where was the last place we saw sexy shirtless dudes dancing in high heels? Who else recently got in the habit of opening her videos with vaguely religious spoken-word pieces? At this point, the talk of one diva or another being derivative may be beside the point — it all may just be a grand give and take. At the very least, though, it’s pushing them to up the ante on supporting human rights; hopefully their collective actions will yield good fruit — even if it grows from a battlefield.