“A Star is Born” tells the story of Ally (played by Lady Gaga) who encounters herself in the company of famous singer/songwriter named Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper). The movie tells the story of their relationship, of Ally’s rise to fame and of Jackson’s’ stumblings into the world of addiction. Early on in the movie, Ally expresses how she feels she will never be able to pursue her dream career as a singer because of her large nose. In other words, she believes that she is not pretty enough to succeed at what she wants. She does not have the power needed to fulfill her dreams.
After watching this movie and then reading the course notes, I couldn’t help but connect the concepts of beauty, power and influence. Power can be defined as “the capacity to produce effects on others, or the potential to influence others. (Bass, 1990) On the other hand, “influence is the change in a target agent’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors as a result of influence tactics.” (Penn State Notes)
In today’s culture, many things are centered around whether or not a person is attractive or beautiful. Most of the people who influence us on social media or TV are quite lovely and beautiful individuals. If you scroll through Instagram, most of the influencers are young women with bikini bodies and flowing hair, or men with six-packs and a killer jawline. When watching TV, how many times do you see a reporter who you think is ugly? Or a celebrity who you’d rather turn off the TV then have to look at? Our culture has defined beauty in a certain way and those who portray this type of beauty automatically possess a certain amount of power.
The main character in this movie, Ally, is a great example of someone who, at the beginning of the movie, has power, but does not have influence. Due to her talent as a singer and strength in personality, she truly possesses the power one needs to be influential. She speaks for many people in the world when she expresses how she does not feel that she offers the amount of beauty someone with influence has. She puts herself down because people had literally told her that she was not pretty enough to make it in the music industry. She believed what the world around her was telling her about her features and was not able to take her power and grow it into influence. It wasn’t until Jackson met her and considered her to be beautiful that she started on the road to success.
This here is an example of somebody empowering us, showing us the power that we have all along and pushing us to use it in an influential way. While Ally’s voice is obviously what brought her fame, if it weren’t for Jackson making her believe that she truly held power through beauty, she would not have made it to fame. As she grows more and more, she embraces the influence that her power provides her with and uses it to have an impact on people, as many celebrities do. This is what we would refer to as “Influential Tactics”. Some extreme changes which most definitely increased her influence were the changes she made in her appearance. As a performer she dyed her hair a vibrant color, wore bold and stunning clothing and always had her makeup done up professionally. Additionally, she promotes being seen with people of influence. She is invited to perform on famous TV shows and interact with other performers. Another factor is the title that she becomes famous with: Ally. Most people go by their first and last names, but Ally has so much power and influence that she can be identified simply by these four letters. We can also tell that she is successful in her journey because of the numerous awards she is nominated for towards the end of the movie.
While the movie does not necessarily end on a high note and Ally has many trials that could have taken her down, she is an ideal of example of someone who has power, but does not believe they can develop it simply because they do not fit the world’s definition of “beautiful.
- Bass, B. M., (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership. 3rd ed. New York: Free Press.
- Power and Influence. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1975088/modules/items/25786847
- Eisold, K. (n.d.). The Power of Beauty. Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hidden-motives/201007/the-power-beauty