Watching Lady Gaga’s new documentary, Five Foot Two, is a cathartic experience. It is so validating to see yourself reflected in somebody so successful. To know that she has her struggles just like you have yours and that she’s not always the turned-on character we see her as is so f*cking cool.
In Five Foot Two, we see Lady Gaga at her most human self. She’s not always glamorous. She doesn’t put on a facade to disguise when she feels like shit. She talks about her physical pain and her trauma. She goes to the doctor and lists the slew of medications she’s on. She gets ready in the morning and goes to work. She talks about her journey to self-acceptance. She visits her grandma and plays the title song of "Joanne" and says that she wrote it for her. They’re in a small apartment with dated furniture and she asks permission to eat a persimmon. She goes to a baptism for one of her family members. By the end of the documentary, we have been gifted a true and honest glimpse into her personal life. This documentary is not about Gaga, but about Stephanie Germanotta.
The fascinating thing about Gaga is her drive to create and channel her pain, physical and emotional, into art. She focuses in like a laser beam and gets the job DONE. I also loved that she’s not always the most eloquent person. In one shot, she’s on a stoop late at night after a recording session. She's talking about Madonna, and how she wishes Madonna had told her to her face that she didn’t like her work. She sounds like she might be a little drunk, but it ends up in the documentary anyway because it’s clear that her motive with Five Foot Two is to document her reality: the good, the less glamorous, and even the average.
It is empowering to see Lady Gaga working to live the life she wants to live--that it doesn’t come easy, but she knows she’s in charge of her destiny. Thanks in part to this documentary and my own most recently begun journey with my mental health, I am slowly giving myself permission to live a life that I want to live. Giuls and I have been talking a lot about accepting our mental health issues here at Fab Feminist. For anybody who lives a ‘curated’ life, it is especially empowering to talk about your mental health with others. You don’t have to divulge the gritty details; to simply tell another person, “I am currently dealing with PTSD,” or “My depression and anxiety have gotten the better of me lately,” gives you so much power. Power to admit that you are not your mental illness; power to say that you are not responsible for the side effects of your struggle. I hope Five Foot Two also offers you some solace in your mental health journey! As always, Giuls and I are here to support our Fab Feminists in any way we can.