By L. Kaplan
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Additional info for Cultures of Fetishism
It is derived from contrary ideas: the woman is both castrated and not castrated. It is, in part, a memorial to his mother’s absent (castrated) genital, her inferior genital, her real small penis, and that last moment before he discovered her castration. At the same time, since it covers over the male genitals, it is derived from two ideas: that a male could be like a castrated female, and yet the fetish could also serve as a “memorial” to his father’s superior genital. ” In this way he is able to treat his fetish both with reverence and at the same time, with the contempt and hostility deserving of someone who has been castrated.
Very often the defense of having it both ways shows up in the elaborate mental convolutions that determine the construction of the fetish. 53 This garment, an elaborately constructed jock strap, was often worn as part of a man’s swimming suit. It covers up the genitals entirely and thus conceals the difference between the sexes. But Freud’s apparently simple example of the athletic supporter fetish has in it more than a few befuddlements. Only one thing is certain, the garment is masculine. But who is wearing the supporter?
The first blow, in April of 1923, would be bringing him the first of thirty-four operations on his cancerous jaw, the placement of a prosthesis in his mouth that made it almost impossible to speak or hear, and sixteen years of nearly unbearable physical pain. The second blow, the death of his grandson, killed his enjoyment of life and was experienced by Freud as far more unbearable than his cancer. 8 There was no hope of survival, and yet he would occasionally open his eyes and act and talk just like his old, charming, enchanting, clever self, making it hard to believe that he was really dying.