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Revista Mal Estar e Subjetividade

Print version ISSN 1518-6148On-line version ISSN 2175-3644


VILHENA, Junia de; MEDEIROS, Sergio  and  NOVAES, Joana de Vilhena. A violência da imagem: estética, feminino e contemporaneidade. Rev. Mal-Estar Subj. [online]. 2005, vol.5, n.1, pp. 109-144. ISSN 1518-6148.

The present work investigates what is the designated function of aesthetics in the constitution of feminine subjectivities. Taking the body culture and beauty as paradigms of contemporaneity, the authors discuss the mechanisms of social regulation and the psychological implications of the historical association between women and beauty. According to them modern culture exhibits women, permanently, as a form of reinforcing their archetypes. Woman's image is juxtaposed with that of beauty and, as corollary, to one of health and youth. The images reflect over worked and sexualized bodies, always answering to the desire of the Other. It also shows the extent of the medicalization in which we are constantly struggling against fatigue, aging or even constipation. Implicit, as the authors point out, is the dynamics of perfection/imperfection, one of the oldest struggles in humanity. According to them, it is precisely in search of building up a form that the subject shows its need for an aesthetic. Confronted with the emptiness, he recovers it with aesthetics. That's why they arrive to a definition of aesthetics as a function, actually a double function: to appease the anguish when it recovers the emptiness and to produce pleasure when it bounds the desire. According to them woman's relationship with the aesthetics of her body and with the Other's look, is similar to an addiction. To be viewed, to be looked at, is a sine-qua-non condition of the relationship between the feminine subject and the other, not only to seduce and obtain love, but mostly in order to preserve the love of the superego as well as the the Ego Ideals.

Keywords : woman; beauty; aesthetics; anxious; desire; social regulation; ugliness.

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