The pop star's new Born This Way Foundation aims to empower youth and combat cruelty

By Tim Nudd
March 01, 2012 10:50 AM
Credit: Brian Snyder/Landov

Lady Gaga‘s ambitious new Born This Way Foundation aims for nothing less than to have kids rethink and rework their entire social structures. And she has some specific ideas for how that might work.

Asked by Time how an 11-year-old girl might follow Gaga’s advice and become more empowered, the singer-songwriter, 25, replies: “She could go up to one person in class who maybe is not one of the cool kids and say, ‘I really like your T-shirt.’ That would be her one great loving and accepting deed for the day.”

That would be a brave step, which is what the whole initiative is about – combatting meanness and cruelty and inspiring bravery in young people to work toward a more accepting society.

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“I’m doing everything that I can, working with experts, really studying the statistics to figure out a way we can make it cool or normal to be kind and loving,” says Gaga, who has said she was bullied in school.

Gaga acknowledges it will be long process to shift people’s perceptions, but says one first step is not to demonize bullies.

“We do not make a distinction between the bully and the victim,” she says. “Each person is an equally important and valuable member of society. What the foundation is about is a transformative change that is going to take a long time to affect the overall culture. Bullies were born this way, too.”