18 Jan 2013

Repost: The 'feminine'

It seems to me that the purpose of the psychological concept of "the feminine" (--I am always wondering what that is--) is to create a definite gestalt (foreground-background outline) for feminine figures. The conceptual characteristics of "the feminine" are initially sought for, in the preliminary wandering of the eye over the field. Finally, once they are alighted upon, the outline of a "feminine" character comes into view. This is reassuring, since one has found what one was looking for.

Supposing, however, one sets out in anticipation of discovering a feminine object. One perceives, in the field of vision, certain characteristics that roughly align with denotations of "the feminine". Yet, ultimately, the outline is not firm, the characteristics keep wavering, the object of vision seems to continue to shift. Would not the failure of the potential "feminine object" to stay within the lines of conceptual demarcation of femininity produce the sense of a "part object" rather than a whole object? The failure to encounter a "whole object" through the conceptual lens of "femininity" (the search for the feminine object) is likely to produce persecutory anxiety, as perception of part-objects refers the mind back to the paranoid-schizoid position of early childhood.

Is it possible that the inherent structural failure of the concept of "femininity" to return to the perceiver a pure enough feminine object, leading in turn to perscutory anxiety as one is left with only a "part object" (the parts of the object that remain feminine), is the cause of misogyny? The failure of the object to appear consistently with the characteristics expected of it produces a shattering of perception, which is threatening to the would-be perceiver of the complete feminine object. This is starting to sound a lot like castration anxiety, but I believe it is only partly related to that -- since here the mechanism of "castration" is in the faulty conceptualisation of "the feminine" as well as in the faulty anticipation of it.

Anyway, my experiences tell me that I'm onto something here. Those who do not encounter an outline of the object, which consistently represents "feminine" qualities, in a way that since the gestalt is firm, would be soothing, tend to encounter a Medusa instead, and this is not because of anything that women are doing, but due to a faulty conceptualisation of "the feminine".

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