Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sigmund Freud Fetishism

Sigmund Freud claimed to have the answers in regards to the fetish, the male fetish I might add, when he published the piece title Fetishism.  Mr. Freud was righting the article for the laymen, the man who seeks him out for all his answers; people who could not dare figure this out on their own. “There is no need to expect that these people came to analysis on account of their fetish.” These are people sitting at home, or living out there lives in complete denial that they even have a problem, a fetish. Sigmund Freud believed that all men are homosexuals (women being excluded from his analysis) and spend their entire lives fighting and coping with this consequence.
            Males were the only ones who got fetishes, or Sigmund Freud had no clue as to what went on in the female thought process. Apparently Freud had no critical analysis as to why a female would get a fetish; it could not be because they are in search of that missing penis. “The fetish is a substitute for the woman’s (the mother’s) penis that the little boy once believed in…and does not want to give up on.” All little boys must have been fixated on their mother’s body (like Freud himself?), and the penis in general; the boy must have wanted to touch and hold the penis if an entire fetish derived from it. What about the little girl, they see their mother naked and later on in life have a fetish. What is her fetish from? “It revealed itself so naturally and seemed to me so compelling that I am prepare to expect the same solution in all cases of fetishism…now I announce that the fetish is a substitute for the penis.” Sigmund Freud is speaking in terms of all fetishes, making general claims that engulf the female characteristics as much as the male; was he never asked where he got his evidence from, and how could the female be involved in these weird schematics of events in his head? Sigmund Freud was projecting his own life experiences on the world as analytical answers to the human character.
            Men spend their every existence in the search for that missing penis they have yet to find. Sigmund Freud argues that every man is in some sort is a homosexual, and he just finds ways of coping with it. “Some people become homosexual…while others fend it off by creating a fetish, and the great majority surmounts it.” According to Freud, all men are homosexuals that struggle with it daily, and distract themselves from the fright of the female genitals; somehow most men are able to live out their lives no longer fighting the homosexual battle, but overcoming the urge. Sigmund Freud has found the winners answer, why those men who are not homosexual are able to fight it off, and exist as heterosexual beings. “The normal prototype of fetishes is a man’s penis, just as the normal prototype of inferior organs is a woman’s real small penis, the clitoris.” So in essence, all men are homosexuals, and have never surmounted it; why do men have fetishes then if the penis they search out, the missing penis on their mother’s body, is there all along? Sigmund Freud’s entire argument contradicts itself in the last utterance on the essay; the fetish derives from the missing penis on the mother’s vagina that apparently is there all along, and only found when the little boy becomes a man.
            Sigmund Freud’s entire argument that men are in constant search of the missing penis made no sense; his own sexual frustrations seemed to be projected onto the studies he was conducting. Where did he come up with this stuff? The answer to all fetishism can be found in the castration of the penis from the mother’s body, and men become afraid of the vagina until they find the penis again.



Jo Hodaly said...

Eric, thanks for your precis. I think the first thing to overcome when reading Freud is his virulent misogyny, which, as you've explained, seems to possess a significant part of work. He seems largely preoccupied with the penis as a formative component to one's humanity. While I agree with you that his work seems misguided by his lack of a 'democratic humanity', I'm still not sure whether we can assume that he's merely projecting his own "sexual frustrations". Isn't misogyny a societal problem? To understand misogyny shouldn't we also understand that it's dangerous to also accept the idea of "sexual frustrations" as a it relates to Freud's wounded manhood? Manhood is what is at stake, both in his argument, and also in yours. It sounds like: "Freud's just not getting some he's totally projecting that onto his work", which seems misguided in itself. Freud is a psychologist, and so I feel his own prejudices would be put to the fore. His misogyny isn't characteristic to himself, it's endemic to our society. I guess to summarize what I'm thinking, an analysis of Freud's misogyny as a result of his wounded manhood seems to recede back into it.

Aaron Baum said...

I think this is a great precis Eric, and I think it does a better job really being critical of Freud as disgustingly misogynist than I do in my precis on this same piece. However, I disagree that his project is contradictory. In my precis, I too examined his last statement regarding the clitoris. You say that this contradicts the rest of the piece, but as I point out in my precis, I believe it works very well in conjunction with his argument. I won't reiterate what I say in regards to that here, but instead I'll go with a slightly different argument as to why this is not a contradiction.

You ask why men have fetishes at all if the penis which they search for is there all along. I believe if you were to ask Freud this question he would answer thusly: Men create fetishes because they fear the castration of their own penis after seeing that the woman is castrated. They seek to retain the power which their penis confers (see my precis for a more detailed explanation of the power of the penis and castration). For these men, they can neither accept that the woman has a penis nor that she does not have a penis. If they accept the presence of a penis in the form of a clitoris, they accept that the woman has just as much power as they themselves do, which the man cannot and will not admit if he wants to continue subjugating women. On the other hand, if the man admits that the woman has no penis, then he is admitting that the man who castrated that woman has more power than he himself does, i.e., the power to remove the penis and thus a power greater than the power of the penis. Thus, the fetish is created. However, most men can accept that the woman has a penis in the form of a clitoris without losing their own power. They do this by pointing out that the clitoris is only a "small penis", as Freud puts it, and thus does not have as much power as a normal penis.

So basically, the difference between those who require the fetish to function sexually and those who are fetish-less heterosexual men is the belief that the size of the penis matters in its ability to confer power. I know that this seems like an odd explanation, but it seems that that may be what Freud is arguing.

Eric Gentry said...

Jo Hodaly-Thank you. I did not mean sexual frustrations in the sense that he was not "getting any." He could have been "getting" all he could muster up. He seemed, to me, that he had some hang ups of his own. Like maybe as a child he seen his mother, and those exact thoughts went into his little brain, "Where's mommy's penis?" And maybe had fetishes of his own. The whole five stages of childhood, oral, phallic, etc. I always thought he was just voicing his own experiences into great philosophical pieces. I do think he has manhood issues. "In my argument" also? I always feel comfortable with who I am, and never feel any attack on my manhood. Nor do I ever feel thus my manhood is at stake. Though I do love the point, maybe those ideas were brought forth to strengthen the misogynistic views of male society.

Eric Gentry said...

Aaron Baum-The one with the biggest penis is the most powerful? Is that what you are saying? I do feel his entire piece on fetishism was a big contradiction. He for one, after stating that all males were homosexual, that he was, "frankly not able to explain [why]." His entire argument is based on the fact that men are searching for that castrated penis. Then he closes on the note that heterosexual males are in fact homosexuals that have found the little "penis, the clitoris." I do believe he was extremely misogynistic in saying that basically all homo-sapiens were males. He did seem to drive home the fact that male is superior to the inferior woman because actually we are all men. He was a loopy fellow if you ask me.

Eric Gentry said...

Aaron Baum, I do thank you for your analysis, along with Jo Hodaly. It is always appreciated to get the feed back form my peers. I just read these pieces and project how I feel about the author and his/her writing, critique. I hope my analysis was able to help you in the same manner yours did for me.

Aaron Baum said...

Oh yeah, of course I agree with you that Freud was a really misogynistic guy. Even though I know a lot of people have trouble when they read the SCUM Manifesto for the first time because it is pretty overtly misandrist (man hating), I had the same disgusted, aghast response when I read Freud. The difference, of course, being that Freud was serious about it the entire time and so was way worse than Valerie Solanas.

Anyway, yes, I was arguing that Freud calls the clitoris a "small penis" for a reason; he does not talk about size as a mere sidenote. Of course, I personally don't believe that having a penis or having a larger penis makes one more powerful, but either Freud does believe that or Freud argues that a large part of the heterosexual male population believes that. As we've all heard in the media, penis size is often discussed in terms of how "manly" somebody is, and the bigger the man's penis, the more of a "man" that man is in the eyes of much of the public. So I think that, yes, in a sense Freud is saying that men believe that just as having a penis confers power, having a larger penis confers more power. If this were not the case, the power and oppression of the patriarchy would be threatened by the fact that women have a clitoris, which Freud says is a penis.

I do agree that there are points in his argument where he seems to have no answer for what he argues. In addition to the example you provided, on the second page in the superscript 1 he says he can provide no reason for why the little boy believes that his mother has a penis. However, I don't think that his last sentence in particular represents a contradiction.