The artist responsible for the vomit portion of Lady Gaga’s performance at SXSW has spoken out to defend against accusations of promoting bulimia. Millie Brown said that the act was not intended to offend anyone. ”There’s a clear difference between using my body to create something beautiful, to express myself and feel powerful, rather than using it to punish myself and conform to society’s standards.”
She insisted that her art was challenging the definition of what beauty is conceptualized as today and her performance at South By Southwest was different than addiction. Millie Brown’s comments are in reference to Demi Lovato, who accused Lady Gaga of glamorizing the eating disorder. One tweet insisted Gaga had used the word “art” to do whatever she wanted without considering the consequences. Lovato later mentioned that she was a fan of Lady Gaga, but still compared the performance to using a needle and shooting up a drug addict. A Twitter user told Lovato that Lady Gaga spoke about her own eating disorder before the performance.
Always devoted to her art, Lady Gaga revealed that for her Monster Ball Tour in 2009, she spent the entirety of her bank account, $3 million at the time, on making her stage. Completely bankrupt she found a way to work up to where she is now. With that much dedication to expressing herself, it is no wonder that Lady Gaga featured such a controversial performance that required a defense against accusations of glamorizing bulimia. She has been under stress to be beautiful and blames her rebelliousness for needing to fight that pressure in order to define herself.
Barbecued sausages, and the woman eating them provocatively, started off the show. Millie Brown and Lady Gaga appeared next in a scene that involved a ball gag, a keyboard, and then mounting a mechanical pig. Brown drank colored milk and caused herself to regurgitate it.
Former Disney star and judge on X Factor, Demi Lovato has been very vocal about her eating disorder and attended treatment in 2010. After the performance she sent tweets to her followers expressing all of her frustrations from Gaga’s act. Some worry that bulimia and forced regurgitation may be glamorized anyway. Despite the motivations behind Brown’s appearance Lady Gaga is glamorous herself and may now be associated with the act and could be interpreted as advocating it as art.
Lady Gaga took the opportunity at SXSW to remind her fans of her love towards them. “They don’t care what anybody says,” she said, using her stage time to share her appreciation. She continued, encouraging each of them to be true to themselves. Pretending to be someone else, she told her fans, means pressure to conform to standards they did not stand for, and pretending to do things they did not like or want to do. Lovato has not made a statement since her accusations against the glamorized bulimia were defended by Brown, but she did remind her own fans that she does still consider herself as one of Lady Gaga’s fans, a little monster.
By Whitney Hudson