Fetish Envy Author(s): Marjorie Garber Source: October, Vol. 54 (Autumn, 1990), pp.

45-56 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/778668 Accessed: 12/03/2010 00:11
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=mitpress. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

The MIT Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to October.


common desire for equality. Men who are surgically transformed into women are transsexuals.Fetish Envy MARJORIE GARBER Whoseunderwear is under there? Fruit of the Loom.was expressedin an of them. Raphling. a recuperative strategy. it have to have to we have to have it. "Fashion Famine Plagues London" A fetish gave my patient the power to ignore a man and deny his penis.D. M.. he ought "Female subjectivity" is itself." is a fantasy construct designed to obscure the fact that the male equivalent of "female subjectivity" is not "male subjectivity" but. -Robert J. too.. or reciprocity." just as the male equivalent of "female transvestism" in most psychoanalytic and popular discourse is not "male transvestism" but "transvestism" tout court. I think. -David A. "male subjectivity. "subjectivity. women who are surgically transformed into men are "female-to- . -Gladys Perint Palmer. "Fetishism in a Woman" In recent years. feminist literary criticism and film theory have been preoclinked by a cupied with issues like female fetishism and male subjectivity -issues have it. stemming attachment tofetishes. Observing the Erotic Imagination Few women are ready to go to a party dressed in a skimpywhite toga that reveals of pair of shorts embellishedwith a large drawing of a phallus.D. This was especially notable when she lavished attention on her denim jacket and turned awayfrom the analyst. alas. 'Cause it fits. -Advertising jingle for Fruit of the Loom underwear A fetish is a story masquerading as an object. Or. its apparent counterpart. if we should has If he it. Stoller. Her bitter resentmentagainst menfor her lack of a penis and for her great need from oedipal sexual disappointment. M.

men have perversions. 1983). the ideology of the fetish is the ideology of phallocentrism. ."2 The penis is an organ."4 The "woman's real small penis. using examples from Shakespeare's plays. tautologous.vol. "Fetishism. women have neuroses. p. though highly pertinent. 4. 129. What does it mean to say that envy for the one is envy for the other? Here we might remind ourselves of what Freud has to say directly about "penis envy": that it marks the castration complex of the young girl. and pop music videos." in The Female Body in Western 1. in most of the literature. is founded on the naturalizing of the fetish. What if the appropriation of fetishism . is wrongly posed. . 2. 371. the ideology of heterosexuality." he privileged the "man's penis" as the "normal prototype of fetishes. James Strachey. that a "successful" maturation toward adulthood will convert this female wish for the penis into a wish for a baby. p. in The 3. Penis envy is phallus envy.") At the end of her provocative essay on female fetishism. Sigmund Freud. La Robe (Paris: Seuil. and thus puts up with the man as an appendage to the penis. evolutionary biology. that she wishes to be able to exhibit the penis she does not have (as. confessing to "a persistent doubt that nags at [her] as [she] attempt[s] to think through the notion of female fetishism. by urinating while standing up). E. 157. 21. 34." in The CompletePsychological Works. It is not clear that it is possible to go "beyond ideology" here. is that this question. when Freud articulated for psychoanalysis both the idea of "penis envy" and the psychoanalytic concept of the fetish as "a substitute for the woman's (the mother's) penis that the little boy once believed in and . Thus. In general. vol. "Female Fetishism: The Case of George Sand. according to Freud. . p. because it is. Susan Rubin Suleiman (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. he claimed in the Naomi Schor. does not want to give up." was. Standard Edition of the CompletePsychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Perversions have to do with having something and neuroses with lacking something." trans. "If the penis were the phallus. p. "On Transformations of Instinct as Exemplified in Anal Erotism. psychoanalysis." writes Eugenie Lemoine-Luccioni. Culture. Glover. . . . the clitoris. were in fact only the latest and most subtle form of 'penis envy'?" What I am going to suggest here. ed. Naomi Schor raises this point directly. Eugenie Lemoine-Luccioni. And this in turn is dependent upon an economics of display intrinsic both to fetishism and to theatrical representation. 17 (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute for Psycho-Analysis. for example. modern theatrical productions. of heterosexuality. 1955). finally. neither are described simply as "women" or "men.46 OCTOBER male transsexuals. that is to say. and that the "ultimate outcome of the infantile wish for a penis . 1986)." (Unfortunately. phallus envy is fetish envy. ."3 Why is fixation on the phallus not called a fetish when it is attached to a man? The concept of "normal" sexuality. "men would have no need of feathers or ties or medals. the phallus is a structure. in women in whom the determinants of a neurosis in later life are absent [is that] it changes into the wish for a man. ed.

Thus Freud's "penis. 1982). Lacan.Fetish Envy 47 same essay. addressed the question of fetishism in relation to the phallus as the mark of desire. having the fetish. p. Jacques Lacan. Lacan locates both this desire and this perversion in "the homosexual woman. In contrast to other animals. Thus." he concludes that "this desire. that motors and motivates her actions. sexual visibility in humans is marked in the male rather than the female." So it is the lesbian. becomes therefore a matter of one's position in the symbolic register and in the economy of desire. Lacan. Jacqueline Rose (New York: W. "Guiding Remarks. who "has" it by becoming aware of its lack). ed. trans. Norton. though understood through Lacan's "phallus. the desire for desire." the structuring mark of desire."6 "The envy of desire. 97. Lacan notes "the naturalness with which such women appeal to their quality of being men. . 6. in moving from penis to phallus. Juliet Mitchel and Jacqueline Rose. "men" have the fetish. What I will be arguing is that fetishism is a kind of theater of display -and." p. it is phallus envy." who exemplifies the patterns of "courtly love" in that she "excels in relation to what is lacking to her. men had the fetish. a regularly recurrent period of ovulation 5. Thus Lacan can claim.e. "has a different fate in the perversions which she [i. Men had the penis. that theater represents an enactment of the fetishistic scenario." Lacan notes (after Freud) that the "imaginary motive for most male perversions is the desire to preserve the phallus which involved the subject in the mother. No one has the phallus. It is the trajectory of desire which is at issue here-the position of "the homosexual woman" as not the object but the subject of desire. "Men" have the phallus. 96. indeed. as opposed to the delirious style of the transsexual male." Since fetishism represents "the virtually manifest case of this desire. woman] presents. commenting on "the absence in women of fetishism. becomes reliteralized as a stage prop." the desire to preserve the maternal phallus." and takes this as a sign of the path leading from feminine sexuality to desire."5 Again following Freud and Ernest Jones. "Guiding Remarks for a Congress on Feminine Sexuality." where "organ-inferiority" became the basis of all neuroses. W." the anatomical object. that "feminine sexuality appears as the effort of a jouissance wrapped in its own contiguity (for which all circumcision might represent the symbolic rupture) to be realized in the envy of desire. In most mammals.. which castration releases in the male by giving him its signifier in the phallus. "the normal prototype of inferior organs. What is at stake is the ownership of desire. and not the straight woman. readiness for sex (and for reproduction) is displayed by estrus. from the level of anatomy or "nature" to that of the unconscious and of representation." In the woman who lacks the penis but "has" the phallus (that is. in a complex but suggestive passage. a detachable object. who follows the path of something analogous to fetishism. "Having" the phallus." in Feminine Sexuality:Jacques Lacan and the dcolefreudienne.

Stoller. an oxymoron. how to pin rolled-up socks to the inside crotch of your underwear to enable you to pass in the men's room ["dress socks. Phallic fetishism . if there were really a decision in favor of one of the two positions. that items like "blue denim Levis. 87. be realistic"]." says the little boy in Mannoni's example. As Naomi Schor notes. . that the invention by humans of recreational sex (sex not for reproductive purposes but for fun) is coextensive with this shift from female to male display. in the rhetoric of psychoanalysis. .is already a substitution and a displacement. 1985). And Freud's attempt to make the fetish part of the female body is both denial and displacement. 8. Octave Mannoni. . mais quand meme ." or a false moustache have in fact produced orgasmic sensations in women)." As Sarah Kofman argues. Robert J. "Female Fetishism. 135-36. I think.which is to say. Observingthe Erotic Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press. p. "since there can be no fetishism without a compromise between castration and its denial and because the fetishist split. here is another version: phallocentrism is loss of estrus. . "it is an article of faith with Freud and Freudians that fetishism is the male perversion par excellence. mais quand meme' la croyance. or are. observes that it may be possible "to reconstruct from 7." The human animal substiand excitement-what tutes erection for estrus. . . . "I know. there would no longer be any need to construct a fetish. but still. . a woman admiring herself in the mirror wearing jockey shorts with a Tampax protruding from them). . fetishizing cross-dressers. 1985). pp. that is . "Je sais bien.this is what distinguishes it from psychosis always preserves the two positions. . . So that the loss or lack that is described in the Freudian fetishistic economy as castration is itself a substitution for another loss or lack. the fetish can in no sense be a simple Ersatz of the penis. . It is no accident. Catherine Porter (Ithaca: Cornell University 10.48 OCTOBER is also called "being in heat. The traditional psychoanalytic literature on the subject states over and over again that there are no female fetishists. (1964). "'Je sais bien . 365. The Enigma of Woman. reading Freud."10 And Derrida. the overt." p."7 For the same reason. self-help manuals for female-tomale passing transvestites (for example. Since the theory of fetishism employs a developmental narrative which implies loss. trans. signalized sexual readiness of woman. signalized sexual readiness of man for the overt. although the fantasies collected by Nancy Friday in My Secret Garden (for example.8 and a wealth of historical research from the medieval and early modern periods have turned up innumerable cases of women who were. . female fetishism is. Freud describes the fetishist as someone who both believes in the "reality" of castration and refuses to believe it. Schor. Sarah Kofman." Les TempsModernes 212 9. recent medical acknowledgments (for examples. fetishism ." "engineer boots. Press. there have traditionally been in psychoanalytic literature no female transvestites.

lago to Brabantio: "Look to press castration anxiety-or 11."13 That the fetishistic patient is sometimes in fact a transvestite renders more complex but also more plausible the argument that the transvestite on stage or in culture is himself/herself a fetishization. pp.is a sign at once of lack and its covering over. in non-Western cultures) indicates that the fetish is the phallus. W. in his description of a garment that rendered the wearer's gender unknowable: the case of a man whose fetish was an athletic support-belt which could also be worn as bathing drawers." in Ecrits: A Selection. 1974). 232ff. the phallus is the fetish.""l An example of an "undecidable" fetish is in fact given by Freud. and mask its lack in the other. "Fetishism.or the transvestite. Alan Sheridan York: W. 156-157.12 Whose underwear is under there? This is where the transvestite comes in. "The Signification of the Phallus. p. a figure of nostalgia for an originary "wholeness" -in the mother. but as a theoretical intervention. . like the transvestite. a figurefor the undecidability of castration. not "having" or "being" the phallus. 289. not as a mask. which is to say. 12. Let us look at some examples. at least initially. Analysis showed that it signified that women were castrated and that they were not castrated.belt -a garment very similar to devices worn. Norton. and it also allowed of the hypothesis that men were castrated. as in the case of Freud's patient's athletic support . The history of the fetish in representation (and this is not just. The fetish is a metonymic structure.' in order to protect it on the one side. Jacques Lacan. in the child. though it has tended to focus on social and political rather than theoretical issues. Thus the fetish. (New Jacques Derrida. by some present-day female-to-male transvestites. Shakespeare's plays are famously full of moments in which characters exthreaten castration. or masquerade. as the anthropological nature of the term implies. for all of these possibilities could equally well be concealed under the belt. 13. I will be concentrating here. like the fetish. This piece of clothing covered up the genitals entirely and concealed the distinction between them. For the transvestite is the equivalent of Lacan's third term. or even within opposition at all." pp. but "seeming" or "appearing": "the intervention of a 'to seem' that replaces the 'to have. but it is also a metaphor. on the plays of Shakespeare. Freud. and also because there has been so much recent attention to cross-dressing in his plays. as it happens. in part because Shakespeare has virtually come to define theatrical representation in Western culture. 1977).Fetish Envy 49 Freud's generalization a 'concept' of fetish that can no longer be contained within the traditional opposition Ersatz/ non Ersatz. or male or female. Glas (Paris: Editions Galilee. trans.

as I have argued. your daughter. since it is the quintessential gender mark of "seeming. whether or not she exists in psychoanalytic theory. ventriloquizing his imagined voice: "two stones. a masturbatory fantasy: "having come from a day-bed.48-60). bizarrely. The codpiece is is to say. full or empty. madam. for transvestism garment. stones upon her. madam. What fashion. and your bags" (Oth. might One thing that sticks out about the codpiece in all of Shakespeare's direct references to it is its explicitly (and precariously) artifactual nature. the ultimate detachable part. the ultimate fantasy of male transvestite scenarios (if the psychoanalysts are to be believed). Lucetta.1. Lucetta. a sign of gender undecidability. shall I make your breeches? Julia. though. At the same time.5. has a substantial claim to existence in history and in representation. a crossover figure who. ./She hath the as phallic woman.80). good my lord. itself.8.50 OCTOBER your house.20-22)-Jessica Malvolio. For the codpiece. like Freud's undecidable underpants. since it can signify yes or no. . For example. That fits as well as. Viola. To best make an argument about fetishism in the plays. where I have left Olivia sleeping. less intuitively-the More importantly -and codpiece confounds the question of gender. The codpiece is the thinking man's (or woman's) bauble. Solario. lack or lack of lack. the piece de resistance of her male costume is clearly the codpiece: Lucetta.be "under there. two rich and precious stones." and thus interposed between "having" and "being" the phallus: the space occupied.302-303). 1. the woman with the codpiece is the onstage simulacrum of the female transvestite. perchance wind up my rich jewel" (TN 2. . I select an obvious example from Renaissance theatrical representation: that of the codpiece. a theatrical figure therefore a theatrical figure for castration-which a We call it foundation itself. It is the stage equivalent of Freud's equivocal underpants. "Tell me. What compass will you wear your farthingale?" Why. when Julia and her waiting-woman Lucetta in The Two Gentlemen of Verona discuss Julia's transvestic disguise (in terms that anticipate a similar conversation between Portia and Nerissa). ev'n what fashion thou best likes. You must needs have them with a codpiece. in a double watch. and the ducats" (MV 2." but in fact it is perfectly logical to do so. or play with my-some entendre clearly aimed by the playwright at the audience: "A little thing would make me tell them how much I lack of a man" (TN 3. is a sign of what might -or in The Roaring might not. mocking Shylock's loss." A woman with a codpiece-what Girl is called with fear and titillation a "codpiece daughter" -is the figure of the phallic woman. by the transvestite. caught in his erotic daydream./Stol'n by my daughter! Justice! find the girl. .4. It may seem curious to choose the codpiece to demonstrate something about 'female fetishism.

" as used to be said of low-cut blouses for women. however. where his codpiece seems as massy The Riverside editors. pinned on. turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty" (3. We are dealing with a detachable part.7. and the "codpiece" of Much Ado marks the representation of a hero who 14. 161.in The Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen. 3. Blakemore Evans. dressed as a woman and put to work spinning among her maids.61-62). Lucetta. et al. the only item of clothing specifically mentioned. madam. Indeed. the scoundrel Borachio refers to "the shaven Hercules in the smirch'd worm-eaten tapestry. Humphries. p.. as if it were itself a totally whimsical deformation of fashion with no reference to the body: "the bag-like flap at the front of men's breeches" (Riverside). G.49-56) Like Portia's comment that she and Nerissa. they in fact "have" what they seem to "lack" -or do they? That the codpiece is to be ornamented by sticking pins in it is not entirely comforting -and in the case of Julia.1.Fetish Envy 51 Julia. Since the original "actresses" in their parts were boys. The RiversideShakespeare (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. now's not worth a pin. . that will be ill-favor'd.4. (TGV 2. 349. both editors characterize the "codpiece" in determinedly nonanatomical terms.3. rather like the socks in the jockstrap of the passing female-to-male transvestite. MechAdo AboutNothing. (Although "she" is also a boy in disguise as a woman in disguise. 1981)." of a "deformed thief" who "giddily . the "projecting forepiece of men's breeches" (Arden). Whose underwear is under there? So the "codpiece" of Two Gentlemenis pinned to the pants of a cross-dressed woman. a woman in disguise. Humphries in the Arden edition finds an allusion to the cross-dressed Hercules unlikely (although he has no satisfactory alternative to suggest) because "Borachio's Hercules is in man's dress with a club. the whole codpiece itself will be an ornament. A round hose. with real contents in their codpieces? It's not so clear. . 15.121 -129). In Much Ado About Nothing. But Julia is.3."15 The "man's dress" to which Humphries refers. once cross-dressed. A.136-137). Out. "shaven Hercules" is a representation of the hero as subjugated by the Eastern Queen Omphale. suggest that this as his club" (3.) Surely there are "real men" in the plays. this exchange draws attention to what is absent. of course. like others. The whole malappropriate discussion comes in the context of a description of "fashion. Unless you have a codpiece to stick pins on. 1974). R. will appear "accomplished/With that we lack" (Merch.14 An earlier reference to Hercules in the same play (2. to what seems. metonymic expansion of the codpiece. But A. so that we might expect some connection between male erotic energy and this item of self-advertising sartorial style that "puts the goods in the shopwindow.253) cites this incident. Lucetta. R. is a hypothetical. . p. out.

85]). 3.1. detached by metonymy. and King Lear. also refers to himself as a a wise man and a fool" codpiece ("Marry. January 10. the history of the fool in Western culture. Love's Labor's Lost.610-11). p. preternaturally sensitive nose. an early incarnation in the figure of the cross-dressed Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. 1988. the phallic woman. New Jersey). from the medieval "bauble" to Pantalone's money bag to modern sight gags involving a third leg or a large. what is represented is the transvestite fantasy.52 OCTOBER may well be wearing the classical version of drag. King Edward III supposedly picked up a garter dropped by the countess of Salisbury at a dance and rebuked his critics with the words that became the Order's motto. calls him "king of codpieces. And the Fool. the founding of the Order of the Garter. Autolycus boasts that it is easy to "geld a codpiece of a purse" (WT 4. the cultural production of The Merry Wives is linked to a famous "historical" incident of cross-dressing." Editors following Leslie Hotson have suggested that the play was written for the Garter Feast of 1597.'have more than thou showest." using "codpieces" as the metonymic equivalent for "men. As it happens. "delivered. Jim Beckerman. .184. red.2. for their lack of brainpower-the brated "fool's bauble." In a recent one-man show in San Francisco called "Feast of Fools. Berowne. The anxiety of male artifactuality seems already much in evidence. In The Winter's Tale.27-28). so to speak.57-74). when." actormime Geoff Hoyle presented. "with a reference to his own anatomy. especially his advice to Lear." The News Tribune (Woodbridge. In neither case does there seem to be a phallus in the case-or rather. and several scenes take place at the Garter Inn. many of the Fool's lines play like phallic jokes.'"16 And what about men dressed as women? The Dame of English Panto had. The New York -based Mabou Mines troupe has been performing an experimental version of King Lear in which all the roles are cross-dressed ("a kind of homage to Charles Ludlam." wrote one reviewer. In sequence after sequence the Fool was defined by his comic interactions with a detachable phallus.11. here's grace and a codpiece-that's [3.5. an extended passage in Act 5 describes the festivities that attend the installation of a Knight (5." and the Fool in Lear does the same: "The codpiece that will In both cases the part is house/Before the head has any" (Lr. 16.4." says the director). In Love's Labor's Lost. Recent criticism of Merry Wives has stressed the historical and cultural links among the Order of the Garter. As a result. "A Cheer for Standing Lear on its Ear. alluding to the common wisdom that fools had extra-large genital celeequipment to compensate. "Honi soit qui mal y pense. C. in a series of vignettes. decrying the power of Cupid. of course. we might say. And things are not made more reassuring by the "codpiece" references in The Winter's Tale.

pretence. 18. as it were. What is particularly important to note here is that. carried onto the stage in a basket. 1987). 8th ed. . Why Peter Pan is a Woman." Adjectivally. to the omnipresent pun on "page" as a surname. 116-140. Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. or mock'-e. O'Connor (New York: Methuen." "Cod" -as in codpiece. even. Partridge adds. after Shakespeare). "the testicles." in Vested Interests: Cross-Dressingand Cultural Anxiety (forthcoming. his motive seduction. it connotes "burlesque. Indeed.Fetish Envy 53 Queen Elizabeth. pp. Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English18 defines cod as "the scrotum. especially cod acting. traditionally. which imagines a transvestism of the opposite (gender) kind. I would suggest. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. cod German. 19. not a glamorous drag queen like Antony in Cleopatra's tires and mantle. a pre-Oedipal mother. Peter Erickson.g. and on the other. Jean E." Since 1965. but rather the quintessence of what is known in transvestite circles as "cod drag." in ShakespeareReproduced.17 but in emphasizing a female ruler's association with a male order. for example. Paul Beale.19 The anxiety of male artifactuality is here summed up. and hoax.or repressed . the king wearing the countess's garter.the fantasy of the founding scenario. and courtly forms. ed. he represents no ideal figure.. or. transves- 17. or mock. ed. I think. and a code word for a male homosexual love object. is taunted by Peter in a famous scene in which Peter calls him a "codfish. hoax." Since 1690 (that is. in a nutshell. "it has been used colloquially for 'pretence. his cause both ludicrous and offensive. critics have occluded . He thus satisfies neither the feminist "role-model" progress narrative of the early 1970s nor the recuperative image of the Shakespearean "sensitive man." or in the plural. either for women or for men. to play the fool." If the Falstaff of the history plays is often seen these days as a pre-Oedipal figure. on the one hand. cod Russian." In its verbal form. 1984). a male-to-female disguise. See my chapter "Fear of Flying. See. the Falstaff of Merry Wives-always carefully kept separate from the history Falstaff-is seen as something of an embarrassment." So cod means both scrotum or testicles. humbug. Captain Hook of Barrie's Peter Pan. (Whose underwear is under there?) The overdetermined presence of male-to-female cross-dressing in the play -from Falstaff to the boys costumed as (and substituted for) Anne Page in the comic denouement -is related. "cod" has also meant "a fool. Routledge). Yet Falstaff is not often discussed in the context of Shakespearean crossdressing. to this "foundational" subtext. Howard and Miriam F. and Class-Gender Tension in The Merry Wivesof Windsor. that one of the most overt and outrageous Dame figures of the twentieth-century stage. his right hand having been severed by Peter in an earlier encounter. "to cod" is "to chaff. as in acting a Victorian melodrama as though it were a post-1918 farce of burlesque. the Cult of Elizabeth." It is no accident. we might even consider "cod" as in "codfish." Hook is of course the living embodiment of castration and consequent phallic display. dressed as he is like an old woman. "The Order of the Garter. fool.

The curtain is a veil that marks off the "not real" from the "real. Buffalo Post. . to actresses appear on the public stage in roles be a transvestite theater-when appearance coincides with the redesign of previously reserved for men-their the playhouse to include the Italian innovation of the front curtain. . after the Restoration. The one substitutes for the other -the curtain for the transvestite troupe. and in conclusion. have ever seen. 1876]. because it coincides with what has been established as natural or normal. Othello.for women to fetishize the phallus on men?In other words. the substitution of female actresses for boy actors is not a naturalizing move that returns theater to its desired condition of mimesis. "Hamlet and lago: Nineteenth Century Breeches Parts. It is. [c." "worthy of being ranked with the best lago we lago. Louis Herald. or to the cross-dressing of Viola in the style of her "lost" brother Sebastian -an impersonation which turns on Viola's (supposed) "lack. Is it possible that tuality of women'sbodies -balloon a source of consternation to this overt acknowledgment of artifice -often women and to feminists -masks another (I hesitate to say. Opinions of the Press of Emma Waller . and the Memphis Avalanche." ShakespeareQuarterly 17 (1966): 137. Heterosexuality here -as so often -equals nature.something tacitly acknowledged by Restoration critics when they praised the women for playing female roles almost as well as the boy actresses did. a double substitution . (Newspapers cited are: the Chicago Herald. New Orleans Picayune. "this (and only this?) is theater. Waller's representation-not was last truly great." The work done by transvestism in putting the phallus under erasure is now done by a different kind of theatrical punctuation. .54 OCTOBER tism on the Western stage and in clubs and drag acts has turned on the artifacbreasts. That is why it is invisible. to deny female fetishism is to establish as natural the female desire that the male body contain the phallus. at yet another contemporary instance. to put it another way. The phallus does its work only when veiled: veiled by a difference which makes it difficult to know whether there is difference or not (since "having" and "lacking" can both be kinds of "seeming"). Harvard University Library. which could be compared to Emma Waller's celebrated moustachioed lago. instead.) Cited in Frank W. a deeper) concern about the artifactuality and the detachability of maleness? What if it should turn out that female fetishism is invisible. Boston Transcript. both marking theatrical difference. Memphis Bulletin. replacing the false boy with the real woman. veiled by the curtain that says. We might note that when the English stage ceases. Wadsworth."20 And here it will be useful to look. or lago for their fidelity in for being dogs walking on their hind legs." Or. night. briefly. just as later critics would praise nineteenthcentury actresses playing Hamlet. or untheorizable. St. makeup." 20.a rerecognition of artifice . Female fetishism is the norm of human sexuality. Cincinnati Index. fluffy wigs. Cincinnati Commercial." "the best 'lago' which has been produced on our stage since the days of the elder Booth. Buffalo Express. "Mrs.

his long lustrous hair. That Michael Jackson has literally remade himself as a figure for transvestism itself seems to me evident not only from his three nose jobs (which have made him more and more resemble Diana Ross) but also from other signatory gestures of "castration. and Madonna. . I am grateful to Nancy Vickers for calling both the video and the awards show to my attention. and the fact that his singing and speaking voices have become higher rather than lower over the years. MichaelJackson. Diana Ross.21 21. in particular.Fetish Envy 55 My example is drawn not from a Shakespearean production but from the crossdressing and fetishization which has become so noticeable a part of the performance of contemporary rock and pop music-specifically. a music video called "Express Yourself" and the moment she chose to perform from that video at a recent Music Video Awards Show." As for Madonna. in some of her most recent theatrical selfrepresentations she has made herself into a figure of and for Michael Jackson." like his glittery clothes. the triangulated relationship of Michael Jackson.a phenomenon that has led some to speculate that he has altered himself in some fundamental way in search of a voice "that can sing both high and low. Here I have in mind.

The speaker is Feste the clown. Squeezing the crotch of her pants became for her. give me leave to prove you a fool" (TN 1. the moment of the claim to empowered transvestism. a transvestite impersonating a transvestite. he's not intact. produces. Madonna is a famous female star who is impersonating a famous male star who is impersonating a woman.not (and this distinction is important) just a claim to empowered womanhood. onstage.5. Why is it shocking when she grabs her crotch. "Good madonna. Madonna became transvestism itself. she assertively claimed all possible gender space. Theater elicits. . who surely knows if anyone does about the fool's bauble which is the codpiece. so that she became a kind of sartorial centaur. at one point stripping off her jacket to reveal a lacy teddy beneath.56 OCTOBER Appearing in a men's double-breasted suit (the mammary description of this garment almost surely a kind of unexpressed pun). the more so since she was so deliberately troping off Michael Jackson. She is. fetish envy. being. In this moment. to seem rather than merely to have or to be . Thus the transvestite in Shakespeare-both not an accident of historical contingency but cross-dressed woman-becomes the necessary intervention that makes fetishism not only possible but foundational to theater itself." she danced before the audience in a style deliberately imitative of Michael Jackson. repeating as she does so a gesture familiar to anyone who has watched a two-year-old male child reassuring himself of his intactness? Not because it is unseemly for a woman to do thisalthough it may be. to some people -but because what she is saying in doing so is: I'm not intact. and by the very fact that she chose the cross-dressed costume from her longer video to present at the opening of the awards show. when Madonna danced toward the audience and squeezed her crotch. mimicking many of his moves. white socks and shiny black men's shoes. But Madonna. Female fetishism. But the moment that scandalized critics was a moment of sheer quotation from Michael Jackson. and no one every complains -quite the contrary. and wearing the signature items of his look. and seeming. Now. as she does periodically throughout the longer version of "Express Yourself. squeezing what she hadn't got (or had she?) emblematized the Lacanian triad of having.57). this is what intact is. and panders to fetish envy in both its male and its female spectators. Michael Jackson does this all the time. Flanked by two female backup singers in pin stripes. is indeed possible in a theatrical space where the symbolic nature of the maternal phallus makes it the only phallus the boy actor and the that is real. I am intact. that is to say.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful