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MDSA01H3 Study Guide - Femininity, Queer Theory, Fetishism

Media Studies
Course Code
Ted Petit

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Basic human desire for emotional wholeness
oWhy do we as a culture tend to describe ideas of love and emotional
satisfaction in terms of completion?
oHow might we understand the association between our desires and feelings of
personal wholeness?
Psychoanalytic theory -> Austrian psychiatrist S i g m
un d Freud
o Attempts to understand the psychic structure of the mind
Psychoanalytic scholars
o How media texts reflect human mental drives toward unity, pleasure and desire
o Individual psychology and the psychology of media and how these two interact
Psychoanalytic Theory: An Overview
Sigmund Freud
oNotions of individual subjectivity, identity, and consciousness are born out
of an essential opposition between the pleasure principle and the reality
o Pleasure is associated with the id: the inherited, instinctual part of the psyche,
“the one and only urge of these instincts is towards
Pleasure Principle
Pleasure principle: the uncontrollable human drive to satisfy desire: an appetite for
something that promises enjoyment, satisfaction, and pleasure in its attainment
o Unrestricted satisfaction or every possible desire
Commonly recognized desires
o Sex
o Power
o Food
o Can also include things like fine art.
Psychoanalytic scholars
o Can experience pleasure through: urination, horror or shock
o Pleasure can come from things that we don’t even associate it with
Example: Life-threatening situation (rollercoasters, bungee jumping)
Example: appalling or gruesome spectacles (slowing down to see a car
oPleasure is something that momentarily allows us to transcend everyday
existence and reality
Ecstasy (original definition): literally being beside oneself with powerful
Pleasure is what takes us outside of ourselves
Reality Principle

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Some of the desires or socially unacceptable or unhealthy -> reality principle comes in
regulates the individual’s experience of pleasure
oReality principle: represents the constant curbing of desire according to
possibility, law, or social convention
Infants -> Pure uncontrolled gratification of
Older: Learn to control ourselves and integrate ourselves into society
Without the reality principle, one would continuously pursue desires without any
concern for anything which would dissolve society
Keeps pleasure principle in check
o When we eat
o Urinating when appropriate
Reality and society controls when and how we may experience desire and pleasure
Associated with ego: the regulatory part of the conscious mind that “comes to a
decision on whether the attempt to obtain satisfaction is to be carried out or postponed
or whether it may not be necessary for the demand by the instinct t9o be suppressed
altogether as being dangerous”
o Reason why we may find pleasure in shocking, thrilling or upsetting aspects of life
Loosen the constraints of reality principle and allow the pleasure principle a bit more
o Disturbing art
o Sexual taboos
Link between Pleasure and Reality
The relationship of pleasure and reality principles
o Two major ways to consider this relationship: Repression and Lack
Repression: Proposed by Freud, is the [process of mentally containing or
desires below conscious recognition or expression
oReality principle forbidding certain desires and pleasures by repressing those
thoughts into the unconscious as a way to manage the tension between
pleasure and reality
The unconscious: the part of the mind that acts as a reservoir for
desire, and it always attempts to make repressed desires felt again by
interjecting them into conscious life
“Freudian slip” (misspeaking) -> a moment where repressed
desires broke through the conscious ones
Lack: Based of the theories of French psychoanalyst J a cq u es L
a c an; there is not
so much a struggle between pleasure and reality as there is a gap that separates
o We desire and wish for pleasure
oTrapped in a reality in which social order and language keeps us from
knowing or expressing pleasure completely
o Experience ‘lack’ because we are divided from pleasures that cannot be captured
expressed in what we have in our everyday reality

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o Unconscious is where there are pleasures and desires that are beyond or access
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