Lady Gaga has written a moving essay for Harper's Bazaar magazine on what being a modern woman means to her. The piece, in which she pays homage to her late aunt Joanne, also touches on her reaction to the lewd leaked tape of president-elect Donald Trump making sexist comments about women, which she writes made her feel "depressed."
"Being a lady today means being a fighter," Gaga says. "It means being a survivor. It means letting yourself be vulnerable and acknowledging your shame or that you're sad or you're angry. It takes strength to do that."
Gaga, who loudly and proudly supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, also weighed in on how it made her feel when she heard Trump's hot mic remarks from an Access Hollywood interview about his ability as a star to sexually impose himself on women. "Here we are, in 2016, and the fact that the sort of language that was being used to talk about women was everywhere -- on TV, in politics -- was eye-opening," says Gaga, who has talked in the past about her own history with sexual assault. "I felt depressed and hurt by it because that's what that kind of language does. Then I watched our incredible first lady, Michelle Obama, talk in New Hampshire about how hurt she felt seeing it too. She talked about how women are often afraid to say anything because we're worried that we will appear weak -- that we'll be told we're being over-the-top, dramatic, emotional. But we're not. We're fighting for our lives."
The essay opens with Gaga describing how she's been labeled most of her life, as a "rebel," someone who was "defiant" and often challenged on the way she dressed. "But I continued to do what I wanted and wear what I wanted -- because, clearly, I haven't changed," she writes. Growing up Catholic, she says she had loads of guilt and shame, but realized at some point that her rebelliousness is a trait passed on to her from the long line of "tough women" in her family.
As she has often done during the promotion of her new album, Joanne, Gaga also delved into the profound influence her late aunt Joanne has had on her life, despite the fact that her father's sister died 12 years before Gaga was born. "The best way to describe my relationship with her is that it's like the relationship someone might have with an angel or a spirit guide or whatever you think of as a higher power," Gaga explains of the woman she thinks of as her "hope and faith" as well as protector. "I learned about her mostly through stories and pictures. But I also learned about her through the rage of my father and watching him pour a drink every night and through seeing my grandparents cry at the Christmas dinner table when it was clear that there was an empty seat they wanted to fill."
The piece also delves into the addicting nature of fame and Gaga's realization that what she really craved was what she already had. "What matters is that I have a great family, I work hard, I take care of those around me, I provide jobs for people I love very much, and I make music that I hope sends a good message to the world," she writes.
Read the full essay here.