YouTube’s “Bad Romance”: Exploring the Vernacular Rhetoric of Lady Gaga Parody Videos

While the political aspects of parody have been widely researched, this work has generally focused on institutionally circulated parodies on shows like Saturday Night Live and The Colbert Report. Fewer projects have explored the political potential of fan-created parody videos on social media outlets. In order to gain a fuller understanding of parody’s political potential within the YouTube community, this case study puts Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” music video in conversation with fan-created parodies. The author argues that the feminist rhetoric in Lady Gaga’s video is disciplined by fan parodies’ repressive vernacular, demonstrating the transformative power of user-generated videos. Social media publication is a powerful force to both progress social change and to recoup transformative messages in the mainstream media.

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