© English Translation (2017) Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano

Any given fetishist is like any idolater. He-fetishist surrenders himself to specific objects which he becomes addicted to. To Freud, fetishism is specific to male sexuality. In fact, fetishism is a device made up to prevent the male anguish towards his communion with women. It stems from the painful perception of one’s inner child that a motherly figure of reference has been castrated.

The Misers’ lust is driven by ‘haves’. Misers surrender themselves to a strongbox of riches, rather than love. Given nothing but a choice between a strongbox of riches and love of a woman, there is no doubt of the Misers’ choice. This Miser’s drive towards riches stresses the fetishist nature of human lust which Freud highlighted in the first place. A Fetishist is anyone who identifies his lust with lifeless objects (shoes, underpants, stockings, etc.) or with a ‘cut’ of body parts (tits, thighs, feet, etc.)

As the Miser has no doubt about his love for his riches so the fetishist prefers shoes, stockings or even a foot, rather than a meeting with another ‘whole person’. A clear choice has been made: his fetish rather than any human being. Misers and Fetishists are nothing else than idolaters. They surrender themselves to their objects which they are obsessed and dominated by, without reservation whatsoever.

Karl Marx’s (1818-1883), in his Capital Volume, has analyzed market merchandise fetishism. He proved that in any given Capitalism Regime – pay attention to his used word Regime, instead of Society – its goods on the market are not merely intended to satisfy an actual need. Rather, those goods seem to have an exchange value incoherent with their material one. It is a paradox as those objects take on a life of their own thanks somehow to a market device that turns them into fetish objects. Contemporary Sociology lets us know that this process has largely dematerialized any sort of market goods, giving birth to an unknown fetishism – that of Brands. Packaging and usefulness of products are valued as NIL when not burned by the imperceptible power of BRANDS.

Pasolini (1922 – 1975) – a great Italian Philosopher and Thinker – was the first to notice the epoch-making transition from Religious Societies to those dominated by Advertising and Consumerism where BRANDS replace GOD. One very famous AD reads: You shall have no other JEANS before Me.

Hence, the fetishist’s lust is like the idolater’s yearning because fetishists prefer ‘the cut’ rather than a real meeting. To Freud this drive is unique to the male desire: Woman’s body is mechanically dismembered in ‘cuts’ for which attraction is relentless. Fetishist lust, then, breaks any idea of sexual relationship intended as the relationship between erotic bodies. To any fetishist a partner’s body is not important, rather ‘the cut’ of it (thighs, tits, breast, hands) or the ornaments associated with it are preferred (underwear, stockings, shoes). A relationship is no longer defined as person to person, but as a person to object. The fetishist idolizes his fetish-object to prevent his anguish at the possible idea of a real meeting with a real person.

Much better to be addicted to a lifeless object or rather to a ‘cut’ of a human body than to a free thinking person that could run away from us with somebody else, or worse for other desires. It is not by accident that to Freud the origin of any ‘fetish-object’ is triggered by the unbearable painful perception, of us as a little child, that a motherly body has been castrated. If one’s Mother has been idealized and experienced as an almighty and flawless figure (Phallic Mother), She, sooner or later, will unveil herself to her child’s sight as castrated – devoid of Phallus. From this, nothing else than ANGUISH, in Freud’s opinion, which, overwhelming the ‘child’, pushes him to find another solution.

Repression, at first, is the most known of the solutions available. It consists of putting away into the subconscious mind this unpleasant feeling of imperfection, to keep untouched the idealized motherly image. The second solution is that of Fetishism: that feeling of imperfection – towards one’s Mother – is so intense that it cannot be set aside. Therefore, it is denied. In this way, the child – anyone of us – feels both the perception of the castrated Mother and the denial of that castration. Fetish Idols are needed to indirectly confer a Phallus to the Mother Figure. In this way, one’s anguish, stemming from the mother’s castration is resolved. Underwear, Breast, Shoes, and Heels are mere objects used to dispel fetishist’s distressing confrontation triggered by one’s Mother’s castration.

Of this, Freud’s ‘TRIP’, we can retain its basic insight: the presence of fetish-objects dispel the anguish of castration. In this sense, we live in a time period where objects appear to us as inhuman partners – Drugs, TV, Booze, Psychiatric Drugs, Internet, Food, Cult of one’s body – which have fetishly replaced human ones. At least, they – those inhuman partners – can reassure us of their constant presence, devotion, no cheating, and the fear of departing from us.

The fetishist streak of male desire becomes a pathological acting out when it doesn’t serve that very eroticism necessary to kindle sexiness. In this instance, the other partner is downgraded and perceived as a mere bit player, just an object. It is a Fetishist’s device who tries to rebuild a sort of spotless image of the other partner.

The very worship of beauty in perfection – shining like a diamond – serves this very male desire purpose. Mere aestheticism as shelter from the thorny nature of castration, from where stems stem one’s dismay for the shrinking of the body, its structural failure. The decadence of Wrinkles as an indicator of the unavoidable proximity of defeat.

This is what urges on Fetishist to rely even more on his obsessions. Henceforth, any fetishist idol is perceived as a charm against Death. Exactly like when the Miser tends to exacerbate his greed as the time goes by – greed, in this instance, is the charm used by the Miser in his attempt to defeat Death.

The fetishist, in fact, demands an everlasting feature of the subject/object of his desire, an untouched immortality of the body. To put it in perspective, it’s what Marx had defined as the ‘suprasense’ nature of Market Merchandise. This is the very ‘suprasense’ streak of the fetishist, but also his most deadly delusion.

Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano
Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano

The English Version of this article is based upon ‘L’uomo che amava una calza più di una donna” By Massimo Recalcati. © RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA. 28 febbraio 2016.

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