This week I have been mentally stimulated by various authors’ take on fetishism, including Freud (1928), Mulvey (1993) and Fernandez (2011), but I am only sharing note on Freud today. I am interesting in this theory because of its relevance to my performance work “The Ten Inch Heels” (of which you can learn more about here) and also because it is a valid casing for investigating significance of feminine accessories in relation to gaze. I will close the post by diverting to a completely different tone, which is a few tips that Tim Ferriss has offered through various books and his podcast that I listen to weekly. His humour, intellect and choice of guests are intriguing and are predominantly creative people at the top of their game. I’ll offer his tips in bullet points.

“Fetishism”, an essay by Sigmund Freud, is ultimately focused on woman’s bodily deficiency and male anxiety about said absence when he views the woman. Freud analysed numerous men who were inclined to object-choice as ruled by fetishism and concluded that fetish like tendencies stem from childhood, where one has something and then it is gone. “To put it plainly: the fetish is a substitute for the woman’s (mother’s) phallus which the little boy once believed in and does not wish to forego” (p.161).Thus, the fetish exists as a way to compensate for the absent. Essentially, what has happened here is that, Freud poses the little boy as having the expectation that everyone has a penis, but when he finds out otherwise, he sees the woman as living with a body that is missing something. He then fears that his penis might be at risk of castration, so, in order to protect it and to settle some of the anxiety, he adds something (a fetishized object that is not exclusive to phallic representation) to the female body. The fetish acts as an aversion to the vagina, which allows repressed castration anxiety to stay hidden. Rarely did a fetishist approach Freud to gain treatment about the fetishist interests, instead they would usually revel in delight that they had found such compensation to make up for lack in the female form. Obviously this text written in 1928 is incredibly dated, but it can’t be ignored considering most other studies since then, refer back to this text as the master key. I do think some of it is absolute nonsense, in that he suggest that male homosexuals identify as gay only because the sight of a vagina triggers their castration anxiety more than it does to others. However, I can’t argue against this case because I have nothing to back it up.

The condensed note above comes to life in my work “The Ten Inch Heels”, but is manipulated to suit my opinion on women using feminine accessories to put men at ease. This is obviously supported by further research, but I don’t want to give too much away here. I will add more to the text above when I have performed and have gained more feedback from audiences. For now, here are some tips from Tim Ferriss.

  • Practice your worst case scenario and then ask yourself “is this the conditioned that I feared”?
  • Calm incessant internal dialogue by mediating on one word. Repeat it over and over and over. Or, alternatively, write for five minutes about said thoughts as a way to release them.
  • Remember that you are going to die soon and use this as a motivator to get you to your goals.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re losing, just keep trending in the right direction.
  • Be really specific when you send emails; “if then”, “if not” can you do this? This is massively helpful and is a tip I have used since it came into my awareness.
  • SCRATCH YOUR OWN ITCH – follow your own curiosity.
  • Question how can you preserve your own creativity budget for the thing that you want to be really good at. This can be something as simple as wearing the same outfit, or the same style of clothing and engaging less with social media because of the mindless scrolling.

I’ll be back next week with more to share, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook

Rowena x