Lady Gaga isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Neither is her mentor, Cyndi Lauper. That’s just one of the reasons they were asked to be the faces — and lips — behind the MAC AIDS Fund’s VIVA Glam campaign, which donates 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of lipstick and lip gloss to the global fight against AIDS and HIV.
But on Wednesday (February 10) in New York, they decided to let the lipstick do the talking.
“We want to spread the word that women are at risk and that you can avoid contracting HIV and AIDS. And this lipstick a little reminder,” Lauper said. “It’s a great gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great gift for Chinese New Year. Tell your kid sister about AIDS, tell your mom about AIDS, give them a lipstick. It’s a great reminder. This is a great campaign, because, through the years, they’ve raised $150 million to fight the disease.”
And making women aware of AIDS and HIV is vital to the cause. Over the past two decades, the number of women infected with HIV has steadily risen. In the United States, more black women between the ages of 18 and 35 die from AIDS than any other illness. So the hope is, with one little tube of lipstick, women will be reminded of those stats.
“We want women to feel strong and feel strong enough that they can remember to protect themselves. To have this lipstick as a reminder in your purse, that when your man is laying naked in bed, you go into the bathroom, you put your lipstick on, and you bring a condom out with you,” Gaga said. “There are no exceptions. … This idea of negotiation before intercourse is this kind of ridiculous thing in the age that we’re living in. I would say never, but you must be in a loving, monogamous relationship or married. We’re not in an age when you can have irresponsible, condom-less sex.”
That’s why Gaga and Lauper are such great spokeswomen for the campaign — neither shies away from the topic of sex. The way they see it, someone has to talk about it.
“I think the issue goes so deep. It’s a social and cultural circumstance, that women are sort of operating at a more passive-aggressive way, but I think that’s why part of Cyndi and I are here,” Gaga said. “If you look at the way pop singers are treated in terms of being sexually independent and strong women — if you talk or sing about sex, it’s considered to be inappropriate, you’re a bad role model, when in reality, we have to talk about these things, and we do talk about them. And I think if we talked about them more, this wouldn’t be such an issue.”
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