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Woodworth, V. (1996). Hillman, James ‘Pink madness, or Why does Aphrodite drive men crazy with pornography?’ Spring, 57, 1995, 39-71.. J. Anal. Psychol., 41(3):474-475.

(1996). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 41(3):474-475

Hillman, James ‘Pink madness, or Why does Aphrodite drive men crazy with pornography?’ Spring, 57, 1995, 39-71.

Review by:
Vernon Woodworth

Archetypal analysis in Hillman's hands has become above all a matter of cultural criticism, a broad brush with which to paint sweeping statements and put forth provocative and polemical propositions. In this address which reflects its oral origins and retains its stand-up style, Hillman presents Aphrodite, the goddess of love, as subversively seeking her archetypal due in a culture which has systematically sought to shun her. No ceremony summons her, no dogma dignifies her, she is criticized on campus and abhorred in the work place: her feminine seductiveness is universally viewed with suspicion.

Despite this denigration and exclusion, Aphrodite has extended her influence through the compulsively sexualized behaviour of her son, Priapus. Priapus as the sexual grotesque arises from Hera's censorial intrauterine touch, for, from the point of view of the goddess of marriage, this child of extramarital conception must be made unseemly and repellent. Priapus becomes Hillman's metaphor for pornography in a culture which seeks to domesticate sex and repress Aphrodite's celebration of eroticism.

However, Aphrodite herself is appalled by her misshapen son. Hillman recognizes that the sexuality of Priapus expresses its own archetypal realm, distinct from the sweet lust and seductiveness of his mother, but he does not acknowledge the problem this creates for his argument. Priapian sexuality may well be the archetypal basis for the pornographic imagination, with its concomitant experiences

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