Decoding Monster effect
Call it satanic, celebrity worship disorder, or even a substitute for conventional relationships, but there might be another reason for the hysterical scenes at Lady Gaga's arrival in South Africa on Tuesday night.
Throngs of fans turned up at Lanseria International Airport and, at the sight of her, many shrieked in excitement, others bellowed in disappointment at missing a chance to show the star their inkings of her likeness, while others simply wept.
It was the sort of delirium that is rarely seen around international stars - let alone our celebrities - who have touched down on our shores.
University of Johannesburg psychology lecturer Prevan Moodley said yesterday that perhaps the Born This Way singer's ability to "challenge our stereotypes and lifestyles" is behind her cult following.
"I think many fans might connect with the emotional sense of difference of being a 'minority' self, and connect with this representation of Lady Gaga," he said.
Kyle Carson, who is a Little Monster, explained the Mother Monster effect: "She has pushed more boundaries than any other artist of our time. She is also a proud supporter of gay rights, which goes a long way in my books in showing the calibre of human she is."
He added: "I love her eccentricity and quirky creative expression."
Nafeesa Jooma agrees with Carson's views about the US star. She caught a glimpse of Gaga in the midst of Tuesday's delirium at Lanseria and gave the singer a 250-page thesis of which she is the subject.
She said: "I've loved her since the release of her second album [Born This Way] - I noticed her positive message, originality and fearlessness in who she is.
"She's a real, compassionate person who understands love and identity in a profound and alternative way."
All she wanted to do was to hug and thank Gaga "for making us feel special . because she's brought joy to us", Jooma said.
"Adolescents, in their search for identities and places in the world, experiment with different images and ideas. People like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga are figures who challenge the way we live, stereotypes, sexism, homophobia and other prejudices that prevent us from living in a way that accommodates difference," Moodley observed.
The South African leg of Gaga's Born This Way Ball tour kicks off in Johannesburg tomorrow night.