Lady Gaga is the subject of the new Netflix documentary, Five Foot Two, that is compelling for people far beyond her “normal” fans.
Gaga is a fascinating Phenom. The child of privilege, and private schools in Manhattan, dropped out on the verge of art school to “slum it” in the fast-gentrifying world of the Lower East Side and make her name in the music biz. The intriguing fashion sense and compelling music drew legions of Little Monsters (her fan base), and she made a string of hits that for a while, would not stop coming. But then they did. Which of course drew the next round of Gaga press. That she was “over.” An interesting flash in the pan, but flash none the less.
Regardless of whether viewers care about the existential pain and drama of a Millennial pop princess/actress/entrepreneur worth hundreds of millions of dollars, there is, however a far more human story absolutely worth watching in Five Foot Two, and in fact, quite riveting.
Why? For the first time, Gaga has connected with a universal message that is far more compelling than “being who you are,” boy breakups, star-induced angst over “fame” or even unresolved family drama about a long-dead aunt with the same name.
Gaga in fact, is learning how to talk about real, physical pain. Hers. She has just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a still obscure disease that causes severe body pain and muscle cramping – among other horrible symptoms. And even better, for legions of cannabis users globally, she not only allows a glimpse into that life, but is free about admitting her need to use medical marijuana to help manage her pain.
You may not have the privilege of working with one of the hottest producers in the “biz” or hang out with Beyoncé when you medicate, but those in a similar position from a chronic condition perspective can absolutely relate. Your total net worth is most probably well south of the woman on screen. But seeing how someone deals with and puts a face on overwhelming physical agony, not to mention psyches herself through it, no matter the money in her bank account (or yours) is inspiring indeed. If not a well-deserved pat on the back for many who have used far more creative tactics to figure out how to manage such an overwhelming condition without such financial resources.
As a result, Five Foot Two is also, no matter the well-timed advert for the now-cancelled accompanying album tour, a global commercial for the necessity of medical cannabis reform. As Gaga says at one point, writhing in pain in her New York apartment overlooking Central Park, she has the money to get treatment.[Image credit: Wikimedia.Commons]