Theory of Fetish, Psychoanalysis and Feminine Dis-Pleasure in Visual Arts

Proceedings of ‏The International Virtual Conference on Social Sciences

Year: 2020


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Theory of Fetish, Psychoanalysis and Feminine Dis-Pleasure in Visual Arts

Iwona Kościelecka



The aim of this presentation is to introduce and discuss the key concepts included in the theory of representation connected to the category of fetish and fetishistic scopophilia introduced by Sigmund Freud and developed out later on by Laura Mulvey in 1970s as well as various feminist theorists writing about visual theory from 1980s. The fetish theory entered various fields of visual arts researching the visual perception and representation mainly focusing on the white male active gaze of white feminine passive bodies. Most psychoanalytic theory excludes the very possibility of the existence of female fetishism. But in recent years, the Freudian construction of passive female sexuality and passive female gaze have been severely criticized, and the other-feminine gaze is more often brought to public.The presentation will follow selected works of theorists who discussed and evolved the concepts of gendered and racial gaze, scopophilic gaze or fetishistic gaze developing polemic in works Seeing Differently. A history and theory of identification and the visual arts by Amelia Jones and Female Fetishism. a New Look by Lorraine Gamman.It can be suggested that Freudian phallocentrism has prevented analysts from seeing the otherness evidence before their eyes so the presentation will provide the examples of feminine looking at sexuality in visual works of Carolee Schneemann, Renee Cox, Katarzyna Kozyra and fetish fashion photographer Lanee Bird.

Keywords: fetish, psychoanalysis, gaze, visual pleasure, feminine photography.