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Bouchard, M. (1994). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis/revue Canadienne De Psychanalyse. I, Number 1, 1993: Eating Disorders and Femininity: Some Reflections on Adult Cases that Presented an Eating Disorder during Adolescence. Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. Pp. 101-122.. Psychoanal Q., 63:821-822.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis/revue Canadienne De Psychanalyse. I, Number 1, 1993: Eating Disorders and Femininity: Some Reflections on Adult Cases that Presented an Eating Disorder during Adolescence. Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. Pp. 101-122.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:821-822

Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis/revue Canadienne De Psychanalyse. I, Number 1, 1993: Eating Disorders and Femininity: Some Reflections on Adult Cases that Presented an Eating Disorder during Adolescence. Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. Pp. 101-122.

Marc-André Bouchard

The study of philosophy and religion confronts us with the body-soul duality, the body considered as an instrument of the devil destined to overpower the human soul, a filthy coating we must rid ourselves of. The body has needs and desires that persecute the psyche. It changes, declines, dies, and rots, while the psychic self (the "soul" in its metaphysical version) is limitless, glorious, and eternal. Selvini-Palazzoli was the first to demonstrate that in anorexia it is not food the patient fears, but the

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body. Bulimia represents the same effort to control the body, the same desperate attempt to be in charge. Tota mulier in utero. This misogynous adage, motivated by masculine envy and fear of the creative maternal, corresponds to the internal self-image of certain female adolescents, against which they rebel.

The author examines the unconscious relationship between excreta and food, between eating disorders and autoerotic deviations, in her patients. She suggests that eating disorders are manifested as a means to attain self-sufficiency; such patients attempt on an unconscious fantasy level to function in an autarchical manner, to be independent of whatever comes from the external world. In bulimia, as in anorexia, the object is not food; the object is the body itself, confounded with the body of the mother. The issue is, above all, one of taking charge, of distending the body, making it swallow anything, in any order. The anal signification of this behavior is often evident. It is possible to link the excremental bulimic world to the negative nature of the precocious infantile autoeroticism of these patients (anal masturbation and its derivatives). In the same vein, in bulimia there exists an autarchical fantasy in which the subject eats her own feces. The equation between feces and food, between the subject's buttocks and the mother's, as well as the mother's breasts, indicates the various characteristics common to bulimic patients: autarchical illusion and pseudoindependence; kleptomania; the food-feces equivalence; active sexual behavior marked by fear of maternal intrusion and control, the sexual partner being insufficiently differentiated from the mother.

These activities conceal unavowed passive desires experienced as shameful and dangerous: sometimes manifest homosexuality, which aids in disengaging from the maternal feminine through projection of the ideal self onto another woman; penis envy, the desire to acquire the member lacking in the mother, in order to become differentiated; the violent, quasi-incestuous father, insufficiently differentiated from the maternal imago, and encouraging pregenital regression; and the appearance of perverse behaviors without stable organization. Despite struggles for autonomy, the patient does not abandon the desire to merge with the primary object, to repair the precociously experienced discontinuity. Several clinical cases serve as examples. Chasseguet-Smirgel concludes by emphasizing that these hypotheses are far from being applicable to all women. The construction of a positive autoeroticism makes it possible to avoid the dramas to which eating disorders bear witness.

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Article Citation

Bouchard, M. (1994). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis/revue Canadienne De Psychanalyse. I, Number 1, 1993. Psychoanal. Q., 63:821-822

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