the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

susan stewart on cuteness

Posted by rigorousm on January 27, 2015

What is… lost in this idealized miniaturization of the body is sexuality and hence the danger of power. The body becomes an image, and all manifestations of will are transferred to the position of the observer, the voyeur. The body exists not in the domain of lived reality but in the domain of commodity relations. Hall noted in his study of dolls that “a large part of the world’s terms of endearment are diminutives, and to its reduced scale the doll world owes much of its charm. …Smallness indulges children’s love of feeling their superiority, their desire to boss something and to gain their desires along line of least resistance or to vent their reaction to the parental tyranny of anger.” This impulse toward transcendence must be juxtaposed with a consideration of the other side of diminutives: their application is especially reserved for children, pets, servants, and women. The diminutive is a term of manipulation and control as much as it is a term of endearment.

— Susan Stewart, “The Imaginary Body,” On Longing, p 124.

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