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Lady Gaga: Just How Crazy is She?

Lady Gaga is a mystery to many people. Her fame is extraordinary, no one can doubt that. But Is it true, as some claim, that she suffers from a mental disturbance such as Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or Multiple Personality Disorder. Or is she simply a crafty child of our time and the poster child of the Age of Exhibitionism?

On the surface, Lady Gaga acts out many of the behaviors that would attract
psychiatric diagnoses. In fact, in the course of venturing their opinions about
her and in particular her eye popping attire and lack of attire, many people
have tried to pin labels on her, especially ones indicating a personality
disorder of the “histrionic” and/or “narcissistic” type. But in my view she is
getting a bad rap on this count.
The reason why someone would accuse Lady Gaga of suffering from Histrionic
Personality Disorder (HPD) is obvious, maybe too obvious. People with HPD are
compulsive attention seekers who use seductiveness and flirtatiousness as a way
of massaging their insatiable need for approval and recognition. While one
could easily interpret Lady Gaga’s outlandish peacockish theatrics in this
light, there are numerous other indicators associated with HPD that are not so
readily apparent.
For example, somatic symptoms, extreme hypersensitivity in the face of
criticism, hyper-suggestibility, and a tendency to over-dramatize difficulties
in order to gain assistance are also aspects of this syndrome. On top of that,
actual victims of this disorder do not manifest symptoms anywhere near as
blatantly as Lady Gaga’s largely comical displays. As for the sexual element of
HPD that gets acted out by those afflicted with this disorder, Lady Gaga’s
behavior does not fit because she is about as sexy as a stroll on a nude beach,
which is not very sexy as anyone will tell you who has visited one. Moreover,
it would be highly unlikely that someone burdened with HPD would be able to work
and manage her environment in order to create a virtual empire around her
abilities and business savvy.
The same goes for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which may sound
like Lady Gaga in terms of symptoms such as grandiosity, delusions of
self-importance, and fantasies about beauty, power, and one’s uniqueness. But
again there are many other NPD symptoms that do not fit into the puzzle of Lady
Gaga. One can even find ridiculous claims that her switch from “Stephani” to
Lady Gaga is owing to Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative
Personality Disorder).
To understand someone like Lady Gaga, it is better to stand back and look
at the broader culture context in which she was hatched and anointed with so
much more fame and credibility than is warranted by her talents alone. We live
in the Age of Exhibitionism, a situation that evolved as our social energies
shifted from the private to the public sphere.
The reasons for this are complex. In a nutshell, the perceived promise of
our local world has gradually eroded in the face of deepening alienation plus
unceasing exposure to images of everyday folks skyrocketing to global fame for
basically no reason whatsoever. Likewise, it has become increasingly difficult
to find love and nurturance in an unfeeling world of materialism, consumerism,
and object devotion. We now speak of the “invisible parent” whose work
obsessions leave children without a “psychological home.” As research shows,
the number of people that we feel are “true friends” has reached an all-time
low, with more and more individuals reporting that they have no one who falls
into this category.
In such a cultural wasteland, and with ever expanding technologies designed
for the purpose of turning our sights outwards toward the public stage, the new
motto has become “If I can’t be loved locally, I’ll get the whole world to love
Lady Gaga’s greatest talent is that of a social entrepreneur who
understands that the exhibitionism industry is the fasted growing one today and
that millions of lonely souls are itching to model themselves after someone
whose attention-getting exploits have virtually no limit. At a deep level, we
appreciate her so much because she is normalizing new and previously
unimaginable degrees of exhibitionism. Like the Beatles who rocked the world by
dismantling some old obsolete boundaries, Lady Gaga is serving up permission –
mostly to young girls who are her primary fan base – to flaunt themselves in
ways that would have attracted shame and condemnation in the past.
We have truly moved on from living the “lives of quiet desperation” of
which Henry David Thoreau wrote, to lives of frantic screaming desperation as we
struggle to feed our voracious appetites for love with superficial cries of
“look at me.”
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User Comments
  1. lady guyga

    On August 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

    interesting cultural,societal observations.thks

    part of me thinks the internet would be better of sliding into the sea.
    its been nice knowing you however its reached saturation point for alot of people.
    the net can drown kids/peoples original imagination/theres too much stuff flooding online.
    powerful anti individual paradigms evolving on net
    i.e facebook-peer pressure,conformity etc

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