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Author: Diedra L. Clay

Abstract

Historically, women’s eating disorders have been denominated with such terms as ‘chlorosis’, ‘neurasthenia’ and ‘hysteria’. Since the 1970s an increase in eating disorders have been noticed, possibly correlated with the general phenomenon of cultural gender role change, posited as attributable to the confusion between the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. The biological term ‘sex’ works for both female and male, while the socially given term ‘gender’ is either masculine or feminine. This traumatic bifurcation implicitly involves a cultural dualism. The theoretical consideration of eating disorders has been likened to the crystallisation of culture, with three cultural axes: the dualist axis, control axis, and gender/power axis. Dualism can be thought of as a denied dependency on a subordinated or traumatised other. Within this frame, human existence bifurcates into two territories or substances: that of the body and materiality, as contrasting that of the mental and spiritual. The body must be escaped from a prison and an enemy with which to struggle. In this battle, thinness represents a triumph of the will over the body. The control axis is informed by the experience of one’s hungers as being out of control. One’s ability to ignore hunger and pain evidences one’s control over one’s own body, often the only control one experiences. The gender/power axis is informed by the experience of one’s ‘female’ portions of one’s body, usually at menarche, as a disgusting appropriation of one’s body by fat. These symptoms emerge as an unconscious protest at the limitations of the traditional female role. Successful interventions with eating disorders take these intersecting factors into account. This chapter will expose the range of current treatment interventions in consideration of the traumatic context.

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In: Topography of Trauma: Fissures, Disruptions and Transfigurations
Author: Diedra L. Clay

In Nietzsche’s consideration of Greek tragedy, The Birth of Tragedy, a central theme is the function and importance of the Dionysian and Apollonian elements of art. As a disciple of Dionysus, Nietzsche seeks to underline the importance of the Dionysian principle. The questions I will discuss in this chapter include: Could it be that the framing of the ‘woman question’ represents, for Nietzsche, a ruse in which he discusses the violent conflict in which he struggles for conservation of the Dionysian principle? And that, therefore, the ‘face’ of Dionysus may be interpreted as the ‘face’ of the archetypal feminine principle? As Nietzsche is often considered the exemplar of destruction, chaos, and misogyny, a careful examination of these questions must be made in reference to his thoughts as a whole. If, as Nietzsche held, the world is an aesthetic phenomenon, and appearance is that which leads to the formless and admits its deceptive character, then Nietzsche’s numerous labyrinthine characterizations of women must be taken in a new light. In this chapter, I consider Nietzsche’s discussion of the Dionysian and Apollonian principles with particular attention to the possible interpretation of Dionysus representing the archetypal feminine principle. A careful examination of Nietzsche’s aesthetics as a whole is presented as a framework for discussion. In conclusion, I show that the ‘woman question’ represents a particular primal conflict in which Nietzsche fights for conservation of the Dionysian principle. The ‘face’ of Dionysus can therefore be said to be the ‘face’ of the archetypal feminine, or the Great Mother.

In: Piercing the Shroud: Destabilizations of ‘Evil’
Author: Diedra L. Clay

Historically, women's eating disorders have been illustrated with such terms as ‘chlorosis’, ‘neurasthenia’ and ‘hysteria’. Contemporarily, we have seen the increase in eating disorders since the 1970s, possibly correlated with the general phenomenon of cultural gender role change. This has been posited to be attributable to the confusion of the terms 'sex' and 'gender'. Sex, or that which is biological, is seen to be either female or male, while gender, or that which is socially given, is masculine or feminine. This traumatic bifurcation implicitly involves a cultural dualism. The theoretical consideration of eating disorders has been likened to the crystallization of culture, with three cultural axes: the dualist axis, control axis, and the gender/power axis. Dualism can be thought of as a denied dependency on a subordinated or traumatized other. Within this frame, human existence is bifurcated into two territories or substances: that of the body and materiality, as delimited from that of the mental and spiritual. The body is that which must be escaped from, a prison and an enemy with which to struggle. In this battle, thinness represents a triumph of the will over the body. The control axis is informed by the experience of one's hungers as being out of control. One's ability to ignore hunger and pain are evidence of one's control over one's own body, often the only control one experiences. The gender/power axis is informed by the experience of one's ‘female’ portions of one's body, usually at menarche, as a disgusting appropriation of one's body by fat. These symptoms can be seen as an unconscious protest at the limitations of the traditional female role. Successful interventions with eating disorders will take into account these intersecting factors. The range of current treatment interventions in consideration of the traumatic context will be discussed.

Full Access
In: Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery
Author: Diedra L. Clay

In Nietzsche’s consideration of Greek tragedy, The Birth of Tragedy, a central theme is the function and importance of the Dionysian and Apollonian elements of art. As a disciple of Dionysus, Nietzsche seeks to underline the importance of the Dionysian principle. The questions I will discuss in this chapter include: Could it be that the ‘woman question’ represents, for Nietzsche, a violent conflict in which he struggles for conservation of the Dionysian principle? And that, therefore, the ‘face’ of Dionysus may be interpreted as the ‘face’ of the archetypal feminine principle? As Nietzsche is often considered the exemplar of destruction, chaos and misogyny, a careful examination of these questions must be made in reference to his thoughts as a whole. If, as Nietzsche held, the world is an aesthetic phenomenon, and appearance is that which leads to the formless and admits its deceptive character, then Nietzsche’s numerous labyrinthine characterizations of women must be taken in a new light. In this chapter, I consider Nietzsche’s discussion of the Dionysian and Apollonian principles with particular attention to the possible interpretation of Dionysus representing the archetypal feminine principle. A careful examination of Nietzsche’s aesthetics as a whole is presented as a framework for discussion. In conclusion, I show that the ‘woman question’ represents a particular primal conflict in which Nietzsche fights for conservation of the Dionysian principle. The ‘face’ of Dionysus can therefore be said to be the ‘face’ of the archetypal feminine, or the Great Mother.

In: This Thing of Darkness: Shedding Light on Evil
Author: Diedra L. Clay

Abstract

Historically, women’s eating disorders have been denominated with such terms as ‘chlorosis’, ‘neurasthenia’ and ‘hysteria’. Since the 1970s an increase in eating disorders have been noticed, possibly correlated with the general phenomenon of cultural gender role change, posited as attributable to the confusion between the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. The biological term ‘sex’ works for both female and male, while the socially given term ‘gender’ is either masculine or feminine. This traumatic bifurcation implicitly involves a cultural dualism. The theoretical consideration of eating disorders has been likened to the crystallisation of culture, with three cultural axes: the dualist axis, control axis, and gender/power axis. Dualism can be thought of as a denied dependency on a subordinated or traumatised other. Within this frame, human existence bifurcates into two territories or substances: that of the body and materiality, as contrasting that of the mental and spiritual. The body must be escaped from a prison and an enemy with which to struggle. In this battle, thinness represents a triumph of the will over the body. The control axis is informed by the experience of one’s hungers as being out of control. One’s ability to ignore hunger and pain evidences one’s control over one’s own body, often the only control one experiences. The gender/power axis is informed by the experience of one’s ‘female’ portions of one’s body, usually at menarche, as a disgusting appropriation of one’s body by fat. These symptoms emerge as an unconscious protest at the limitations of the traditional female role. Successful interventions with eating disorders take these intersecting factors into account. This chapter will expose the range of current treatment interventions in consideration of the traumatic context.

In: Topography of Trauma: Fissures, Disruptions and Transfigurations