If you somehow missed Camille Paglia in any gender studies or cultural studies classes, here is a general (but by no means complete) run down: she’s a public intellectual who is extremely critical of mainstream feminists and accuses them of being the P.C. police; she’s pro-pornography and pro-legalized sex work; she believes masculinity and femininity are essential qualities in each of us that should be nurtured; she argues love and sex are supposed to be passionate, even violent; and she is obsessed with both “high culture” and “low culture,” particularly art and literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the pop star Madonna. To say Camille Paglia is controversial is putting it mildly; quite a few female writers dismiss her entirely as a publicity whore. Personally, I’ve read a few of her books and old Salon.com columns and find some of Paglia’s ideas interesting to think about.
Some of Paglia’s criticisms are spot-on: indeed, the woman whose birth certificate reads Stephani Germanotta was raised in New York City’s Upper West Side, attended the same private school as the Hilton sisters and attended one year of $40K-a-year NYU, and was financially supported by her parents while she launched her music career. Paglia accuses Gaga of a disingenuous identity, writing:
“There is a monumental disconnect between Gaga’s melodramatic self-portrayal as a lonely, rebellious, marginalised artist and the powerful corporate apparatus that bankrolled her makeover and has steamrollered her songs into heavy rotation on radio stations everywhere.”