This chapter examines psychoanalytic discourse about masculine subjectivity—with an eye toward its gendered representations, and attention to the fissures and instabilities within these representations—to understand how it secures, and subverts, prevailing fantasies of masculine power and privilege. Psychoanalytic discourse, especially that of Freud and Lacan, seeks to establish a gendered order organized around wholeness and lack. Although such discourse frequently undoes itself in its articulation, usually containing the very materials that make critical intervention possible, the move toward an equation of maleness with plenitude and femaleness with incompletion is undeniable and has made psychoanalysis legitimately suspect in the eyes of many feminist critics. In considering these materials, the author draws upon the work of Kaja Silverman. In The Acoustic Mirror Silverman studies the anxieties “lack” creates within film theory and psychoanalysis. She notes that both discourses enable masculine subjects to overcome lack's attendant displeasures by displacing it onto female subjects and bodies.
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