‘Today, I wear the pants’: Lady Gaga makes passionate feminist speech at Hollywood event

‘I wanted to take the power back’

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 17 October 2018 10:45
Lady Gaga opens up about sexual assault at Elle Women in Hollywood event

Lady Gaga delivered a powerful speech at ELLE’s annual Women in Hollywood event on Monday, in which she opened up about mental illness, being sexually assaulted and wanting to “take the power back” with regards to her unusual choice of outfit.

Instead of wearing a glamorous gown as is typical of red carpet events, the singer opted for an oversized suit by Marc Jacobs in a bid to “resist the standards of Hollywood”.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands, the 32-year-old explained how the outfit made her feel more empowered than a dress ever could.

"In this suit, I felt like me today. In this suit, I felt the truth of who I am well up in my gut.

"After trying 10 or so dresses, with a sad feeling in my heart, that all that would matter was what I wore to this red carpet, I saw an oversized Marc Jacobs suit buried quietly in the corner.

"I put it on to a resounding view of eyes glaring at me in confusion. 'But the Rodarte was so beautiful!' one said.

"'But the Raf Simons for Calvin Klein was so stunning on you!' said another. Lots of questions. They were all dresses. This was an oversized men's suit made for a woman. Not a gown. And then I began to cry."

The Star is Born actor explained how choosing an outfit to wear for the event made her question the lengths women go to in order to meet such high standards regarding their appearance.

"To be honest, I felt sick to my stomach. And I asked myself: What does it really mean to be a woman in Hollywood? We are not just objects to entertain the world.

"We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people's faces. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public.

Lady Gaga was honoured on the night as one of ELLE’s Women in Hollywood.

“We women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced.""

Gaga - whose real name is Stefani Germanotta - went on to speak about how she had been sexually assaulted by someone in the entertainment industry when she was 19, explaining how she is “still not brave enough to say his name.”

She recalled how the experience changed her life and led her to blame herself.

“Part of me shut down for many years,” she said.

“I didn’t tell anyone. I avoided it myself. And felt shame even still today standing in front of you. I feel shame for what happened to me. I still have days where I feel like it was my fault.”

Gaga, who also suffers from the chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia, told the audience how she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the assault.

“I’m fortunate enough now to have the resources to help me,” she continued.

“But for many, the resources either don't exist or people don't have the ability to pay for or access them.

“I want to see mental health become a global priority.”

The singer-turned-actor also confirmed her engagement to Christian Carino by thanking him in her speech, referring to the talent agent as her “fiancé”.

Fans have been quick to offer their congratulations on social media, with many thanking Gaga for her candour.

“My body is covered in goosebumps as my eyes fill with tears,” wrote one person on Twitter.

“Thank you @ladygaga thank you for speaking the words of a massive sisterhood. You are loved. You are seen. You are heard. And you matter.”

Another added: “All I want to tell her is I see her, I believe her, I am her... thank you for speaking for both of us.”

Even Cher weighed in on the ubiquitous praise, tweeting “Go Gurl” in response to a clip of the speech.

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