Born This Way? Pop Culture’s Collision with the Freak of Nature

  • Jessica L. Williams


This chapter looks at culturally constructed freakishness in the representations of the freak body in popular music’s visual culture. Taking the music videos and live performances of Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga it argues that physical ability, sexuality, and gender identities help shape cultural constructions of freakishness and therefore cannot be separated from freakish bodies. The chapter’s examinations reveal the hierarchy that exists within categories of freakishness and how, as the made freak body comes into contact with the born freak body, it is revealed as being inauthentic. Ultimately, however, this inauthenticity does not matter in the pop culture sphere because when the freak is disseminated through changing media, the separation between normal and freakish bodies, and therefore the distance between freak show and everyday life, collapses—the freak show is dispersed.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSUNY College at Old WestburyWestburyUSA

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