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Barahona, R. (2016). On: The Couch and the Chador. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1429.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1429

On: The Couch and the Chador

Rodrigo Barahona

Dear Editor,

Movahedi and Homayounpour's (2012) interesting paper on the many intrapsychic and intersubjective meanings around the wearing of the Islamic chador (a holding environment, a skin ego, a containing function, a punitive maternal superego) does not go far enough into describing how, by indeed constituting all of these structures internally, the chador accomplishes its one, basic task: the psychological submission of women (Dismissed by the authors on pp. 1358-1359 as a projection of an Orientalist and guilt-ridden West). Do the authors dismiss this potential function too readily from their field of observation, a function that may bear on deep subjective meaning? Still, as analysts we would be remiss not to recognize the subjugating function of female Islamic dress in the construction of the subjectivities of those who, willingly or not, wear it. The author's get close to this idea when they describe how woman's fashion in general “serves the function of representation of the female body and provides a significant text for how culture constructs femininity” (p. 1372), but the relationship to women's fashion fails on one important point: given the cultural, religious, and familial pressures, as well as the interpersonal and social consequences that follow non-compliance where it is instituted, wearing the chador cannot in any way resemble a fashion ‘choice’. Is it really possible that the chador merely supplements endogenous psychical structures, reinforcing ‘paternal and maternal functions’, as is implied by the authors? I am reminded here of Bleichmar's (2014) description of the production of subjectivity as the process in which historical, social, and political forces institute systems of representation deep inside the psyche in a way that has a direct bearing on psychic functioning.

Rodrigo Barahona

1622A Beacon St. Suite 301, Brookline, MA 02446, USA



Bleichmar S (2014). Las teorías sexuales en psicoanálisis. Buenos Aires: Paidos.

Movahedi S, Homayounpour G (2012). The couch and the chador. Int J Psychoanal 93:1357-1375.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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