On Tuesday, 27/06/2017, in downtown Athens, a journalist who suffered from anorexia nervosa for years was found dead in her home by her own father. The medical finding reported multiple organ dysfunction. Her death had occurred the previous day. She passed away on her own, with her own jouissance. The news item became known through the media, which supplies the images that some viewers choose for their identification. The heartbreaking news was circulated with a last picture of her emaciated body. As if we all have to remember is her death-drive.
In his presentation entitled “The Ego in Anorexia, Ego-syntonic, Narcissism and Imaginary Nomination” Domenico Cosenza says: “Herein lies the paradox of anorexia linked to a narcissism of the thin body image and its mastery. The more the patient exerts their dominion over their body by refusing to follow the drive, the more they become a slave to the enjoyment of renunciation.”(1)
By chance, I recently saw some scenes from “Greece’s Next Top Model”. The girls, preferably young, are tested for admission to the long-awaited for them reality show. On the condition that they put on a swimsuit, pose in front of the camera, so that their body will be visible. Judges’ remarks provoke the crying of a certain amount of them. Some are too athletic, so that they are disapproved. Others don’t have the body proportions that the judges would like or have fantasized for the girls.
In one scene, one of the contestants appears and says she would like to make the difference displaying oversized clothes, as she is overweight. The fact that she didn’t show any grief when she heard she didn’t qualify for the next phase was admirable. As she mentioned, she wished to transmit to the public that there are other women, speaking beings, too.
In a nutshell, on this reality show, they expect the girls as ready models regarding their body type. That is why they have demands which overcome those girls’ strength for their elusive dream. A dream which as a great promise for the glory in the singular fantasy of each one, it forces them to suffer while ordering them: “Enjoy each moment”. The result is that the contestants are squabbling all the time, attacking to each other about their weight and other attributes. “The Superego is the imperative of enjoyment – Enjoy!”(2)
The competitors, when being asked if they would change their body or their hair style, are willing to do whatever they are asked. A lot of them reply that their judges are the ones who know, laying the Knowledge on the Other. The more they listen to the advice of the “specialists”, the more they wish to go on “up to the end”, as they attest. “Addiction is the root of the symptom constituted by the inextinguishable repetition of the same One.”(3) Let’s wonder how evaluators judge regarding only the fantasy for an unattainable dream.
Both sides serve the Capitalist Discourse in the postmodern society. Judges render the models the objects of a dangerous surplus jouissance which they follow, as well. “This imaginative dimension is precisely what one is nourished by.”(4) Where does the nourishment of this “dream” lead us, after all? It remains to each Subject to come up with a solution within life, “reducing the symptom to its initial formula, i.e., the material encounter between a signifier and the body.”(5)
1. Towards the Clinical Study-Days 11: “The Delights of the Ego”, Conference by Domenico Cosenza: “The Ego in Anorexia, Egosyntonic, Narcissism and Imaginary Nomination” (http://www.radiolacan.com/en/topic/1057) and https://www.lacaniancompass.com/lcexpress
2. Lacan, J., Seminar XX, “Encore”, Chapter I, “On Jouissance”.
3. Miller, J.-A., “Reading the Symptom”, Greek translation Yiannis Dimitrakos – Epaminondas Theodoridis, Ekkremes Publications, p. 27.
4. Lacan, J., Seminar XX, “Encore”, Chapter ΙI, “To Jacobson”.
5. Report on the Knottings Seminar, London Society, NLS-Messager 330 http://www.amp-nls.org/nlsmessager/2011/330.html
Image: Etoile de mer / The Star of the Sea http://www.manraytrust.com/