Let’s Not Repeat The ‘Poor Jen’ Narrative With Lady Gaga

One of the most successful musicians in history does not need to be defined by who she is dating...

Lady Gaga

by Georgia Aspinall |

Lady Gaga is one of the best-selling music artists in history. She has just added an Academy Award, BAFTA Award and second Golden Globe to her collection of nine Grammys. The woman is an unstoppable gigadruple threat of talent and power. But, in the last year as she transcended the music industry to become an award-winning actor, the obsession with her romantic relationships – and the state of her womb – has increased exponentially.

The most recent rumour is that she’s dating Avengers: End Game actor Jeremy Renner after a source told Us Weekly that they were ‘spending a lot of time’ together with Renner’s daughter, Ava. Of course, the rumours could well be true. Fans certainly think so, given how often Renner comments on Gaga’s Instagram posts. Of course, they could also be absolutely false. But the bigger question really is, why are we so obsessed with Gaga having a romantic partner?

It’s not just Gaga, celebrity relationships are speculated about endlessly online and across the tabloids. However, what seems different about the narrative around Gaga isn’t just the obsession with her partners, but the way her love life is framed as chaotic and tragic.

First came the Bradley Cooper cheating rumours, which swelled after fans became invested in their chemistry-filled performance as Ally and Jackson in A Star Is Born. Then, mid award season, as the excitement around her potentially winning an Oscar reached new heights, Gaga ended her engagement with talent agent Christian Carino. One quote of hers went viral at the time, one taken from her documentary Five Foot Two referring to Taylor Kinney:

‘My love life has just imploded,’ she said, ‘I sold 10 million [records] and lost Matt. I sold 30 million and lost Luke. I did a movie and lose Taylor. It's like a turnover. This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this.’

It seemed like once again, history was repeating itself as Gaga was nominated for arguably the biggest award in Hollywood at a time when her two-year relationship was ending. Of course, this quote was taken from early 2017, and with two years of growth since then there’s no telling just how Gaga was responding emotionally to her break-up. The way in which the quote spread was indicative of a growing sexist theme, that we must feel sorry for Gaga because despite her career success she can’t keep a man, and for some (read: patriarchal) reason, that is the ultimate tragedy.

Then came the kicker, that pulled Gaga truly into the ‘Poor Jen’ narrative that has plagued Jennifer Aniston’s career and led to her producing multiple essays and interviews on the topic. She was rumoured to be pregnant. More than that, one tabloid claimed she didn’t know who the father of the child was, debating between Cooper or Carino. ‘Rumors I’m pregnant?’ she tweeted in response, ‘Yeah, I’m pregnant with #LG6.’

It began was is likely to be a running series of pregnancy speculation, engagement rumours and general fascination with whether Gaga is in a relationship or not. It’s not entirely surprising that this obsession comes as she moves into her early 30’s, the decade at which women are suddenly expected to ‘settle down’ and become mothers, regardless of what they actually want themselves. While Gaga seemed happy to laugh it off with an album promotion for her first pregnancy rumour, knowing the trajectory at which Jennifer Aniston had to bat these rumours away for every year she grew older, it will soon become a broken record.

‘I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up,’ Aniston wrote for The Huffington Post back in 2016, ‘I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news”.

Jennifer Aniston's throwback pictures are a must-see, click through for some nineties and noughties nostalgia...

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Jennifer Aniston Throwback Images- Grazia (stacked)

‘If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues,’ she continued, ‘The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general…’

Her words resonated with many women, whom too face scrutiny in their everyday lives to fulfil a certain role expected of them as soon as they exit their twenties. And now, as the narrative moves away from Aniston following multiple proclamations that she is actually fine, Gaga seems to be filling the void that she left.

Indicative of just how much society’s view of women hasn’t actually changed, all we can do is wait for this progression we’re supposedly surrounded by. Can we one day live in a world where a successful woman doesn’t have to be attached to a man, or bear a child, to be celebrated without some patronizing aura of sympathy around her? We can only hope

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