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“The transmission of desire matheme”. This unusual term is used by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to talk about the famous “Oedipus Complex”, when explaining that desire isn’t natural, but created. Lacan uses logic, linguistics and philosophy to return to the German psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and fix all the mistakes that came from the american misuse of the psychoanalytic theory for years.
I teach educators and have a extreme difficulty to explain to them that we aren’t free, much less beings determined by the unconscious, but actually overdetermined, that is, influenced by a set of factors, like the environment, social construction, genetic components and the culture that surround us.
No one understands that right away, so I need to become more engaging. I ask who likes the smell of feces. Until today, no one admitted to liking it. I ask them the reason why and they answer “the obvious”: because it stinks.
The “obvious” isn’t true, what is behind it, in this case, is the importance of a mother’s word. Every time a child touched their excrements, their mother would say “poop”, “stinky”, “you can’t do it”, “ew”. Suddenly, what our mother conveys becomes a rule, it “enters” so much in ourselves that we are able to feel sick just by remembering its smell or by thinking of it. There it is, crystal clear, the power held by our parents’ words and our education over the way through which we think about the world.
The human being, totally devoid of instincts, is born and faces an unknown question right away: “what can I do to make this person who takes care of me love me and do it for years to come?” The Beatles were right: “All You Need Is Love”.
Boys are born straight, because their first love is always their mother; soon they get shocked when realizing, for the first time, that she has the lacking MARK on her body, and start to idolize their father. He must know all the secrets, after all he HAS something more (the penis, which lacks in a mother) and still has his mother; the boy’s idolatry comes close to a rivalry and the father shows the child what it means to “be a man”.
A girl is born homosexual, loving her mother, period. Both of them don’t have a penis (for the record: it isn’t the penis what matters, but its lack in a mother).
When the girl realizes that “her father has one” and her mother loves him, first of all she is disappointed in her mother, because both of them don’t have it, and turns her attention and desire to her father. From that point, she discovers the world, because her father, who has it, can give “it to her”.
It it important to mention that the term “father” used here represents the paternal function, which can be exercised by the mother’s girlfriend, by an uncle, by a grandfather, by work, by television and even by money or consumerism. The thing a mother looks at (admires, wants, desires) is the fundamental pillar on a young mind’s foundation.
All this explanation, leaving aside the old story about Jocasta (“Oedipus Complex”), gives us an insight on the power education holds over prejudice, misogyny and gender identity. If we can feel sick by the smell of feces, that one day didn’t bother us, imagine what we feel when we discover that we ARE “what we shouldn’t be”.
“Faggot”, “dyke”, “sissy”, “nancy”, “fairy”, “tranny” and all these kinds of terms are used to point what “we shouldn’t feel or desire”, according to a dominant society. Besides the feeling of disappointing our first objects of love, our father and our mother.
A certain time ago, I saw on social media an excerpt from the Positivo Educational System’s textbook, in which a girl, on an exercise, should point what could or couldn’t be done according to each gender. Someone defended the book publisher, saying that this was a material for critical teachers, who would reflect and think about stereotypes.
In the example, the girl selected almost everything for both sexes; leaving out just a bikini and a bra for the boys, since they don’t have breasts (a clever girl, who sees herself as someone who has something more rather than someone who lacks something).
I start to think: do we really have in Brazil critical teachers who will know how to guide our children to the idea that toys for boys and toys for girls don’t exist? Who can spit on the ground? Both of them or none? As to wearing bikinis and bras, will the teacher explain to our dear girl that, even though a boy doesn’t have breasts, he can wear a bra, simply because he wants to and because freedom exists? What about a tie? “Why don’t you wear a tie, teacher?”, a female student would ask. What would her answer be? A teacher would ask “how many boys here in this classroom want to play with dolls, but the parents won’t let them?”
Would a Brazilian school be able to deal with these questionings? Or is this textbook more of a way to standardize and shape our children, with the publisher’s clever reservation to avoid “the influence of gay supremacists and annoying woke people?”.
Back to the freudian “Oedipus Complex”. According to the conflict’s resolution, the sexual orientation emerges. There is no formula: a boy can become gay or straight for loving his father too much, for not loving his father enough, for being abandoned by one of his parents, for being too close to his mother and idolizing her (as Félix and his “powerful mommy”, both characters from a Brazilian soap opera)… In brief, there are countless reasons, since sexual orientation comes from several overdeterminant factors already mentioned in the beginning of this text.
There is no textbook, “gay kit”, teacher or a standalone experience that turns someone gay or straight” By the way, one of Freud’s astonishments is that men continue to like women after facing castration, the lacking mark. “But they do”, he says.
What this Positivo Educational System’s textbook and any other type of education that doesn’t encompass diversity can do is provoke suffering and distress, leaving a mark on a child that what they feel is wrong, a sin, dirty; that they need to hide it or pretend that it doesn’t exist.
In opposition, if the school and the textbook are correct, they can teach a child that they have the right to be free, that they can be a straight boy who plays with dolls and helps at home, that doesn’t need to spit on the ground or beat someone up to be considered a male, that a straight girl can play soccer or play with toy cars, or that he or she can even choose to be gay and fabulous.
What kind of education did you have?
And what kind of education do you provide to your children or see being provided to someone else’s children?
“The progressive renounce of instincts seems to be one of the fundamentals of the human civilization’s development.” – Freud
This article is also available in: Português