BORN THIS WAY: The Omnipresent Lady Gaga Be Yourself Anthem

BORN THIS WAY: The Omnipresent Lady Gaga Be Yourself Anthem

Six years later, Lady Gaga’s self-proclaiming single is still inspiring tattoos and Super Bowl performances.

It doesn't matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M

Just put your paws up 'cause you were born this way, baby

Whether you love him, or H-I-M…, you’ve at least heard the anthem single Born This Way on the radio, or you tuned into the Super Bowl this year and were accidentally or intentionally subjected to it. With dance-y pop music beats, Born This Way was developed while Gaga was on the road with her Monster Ball tour. It was a pleasant continuation of her status as pop diva powerhouse, as her 2008 breakout album was chock full of disco beats and catchy earworm lyrics.

"I want to write my this-is-who-the-fuck-I-am anthem, but I don't want it to be hidden in poetic wizardry and metaphors,” Gaga told Billboard in an interview in March of 2011. “I want it to be an attack, an assault on the issue because I think, especially in today's music, everything gets kind of washy sometimes and the message gets hidden in the lyrical play.”

My mama told me when I was young

We are all born superstars

She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on

In the glass of her boudoir

Born This Way Unicorn Tattoo (via IG—ireneshiori) #PlayItAgain #LadyGaga #BornThisWay #LyricTattoo #MusicTattoo

And yes, the theme of Born This Way is not hidden. Not at all. It’s wildly unsubtle, and it’s become an LGBTQ mantra. Lady Gaga has touted herself as Mother Monster for a while now, and her Little Monsters are folks who embrace their always weird, sometimes queer selves. But Gaga isn’t necessarily niche, and neither is Born This Way — the single sold a hot 8.2 million copies worldwide, which makes it one of the best selling singles of all time.

Born This Way on a wrist (via IG—vivstattoo) #PlayItAgain #LadyGaga #BornThisWay #LyricTattoo #MusicTattoo

"There's nothing wrong with loving who you are"

She said, "'Cause he made you perfect, babe"

"So hold your head up girl and you'll go far,

Listen to me when I say"

I'm beautiful in my way

'Cause God makes no mistakes

I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way

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Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" tattoo on display. #PlayItAgain #LadyGaga #BornThisWay #LyricTattoo #MusicTattoo

In a very Gaga move, the singer also got a tattoo of her own lyrics scrolling around a unicorn on her hip. Gaga’s tattoos are well known by fans, aficionados, and the general public by now, and every tattoo is revealed to have some level of meaning. The unicorn was inked by Becca Roach, who now works out of Queen Street Tattoo in Honolulu, and doesn’t have the deepest meaning in the world, but we’ll take it:

“I was obsessed with the idea of a creature that was born with something magical that sort of made them the misfit in the world of the stallion,” Gaga told Metro News. “The unicorn is born magical and it’s not the unicorn’s fault, and it doesn’t make it any more or less special or any less unique, but it can’t help that it was born with that magic.”

Don't hide yourself in regret

Just love yourself and you're set

I'm on the right track, baby

I was born this way (Born this way)

Oh there ain't no other way

Baby I was born this way

Baby I was born this way

Oh there ain't no other way

Baby I was born this way

Right track baby I was born this way

Gaga’s tattoo interpretation of her own title and lyrics has inspired a slew of fan copy-cat tattoos, and who can blame them? It’s a double whammy tattoo — simple, cheesy lyrics that inspire, and an unapologetic proclamation of identity, all wrapped up around a unicorn. The song’s not without its strangely problematic and bizarre rhyme scheme choices (“You're black, white, beige, chola descent / You're Lebanese, you're Orient”?), but it’s here to stay as an identity anthem, and continues to make its way onto adoring fans’ skin.

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