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The Desire for Difference


Many people are eager to satisfy their desire for difference; ladies with big-name brand products that show off their sense of fashion to the rivals, the intellectual elite that display their careers and title so as to distinguish them from the general public, bosses that flaunt their influence frequently to confirm the subordinates’ loyalty (you can observe those bosses everywhere from a monkey mountain to Washington, D.C.) etc.

Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay
An interest in fashion show is based on the desire for difference.

1. The desire for difference in patriarchy

The prototype of our desire for difference is the penis envy and the castration complex in our childhood. According to Freud, an infant girl suffers from a sense of inferiority for lacking penis and wants it. An infant boy is shocked to find a woman does not have a penis and afraid that his father might deprive him of his penis.

This theory of psychoanalysis is based on the male-dominant society of Freud’s time. In the family of those days, father had the highest capital. The Phallus that symbolizes it was the father’s penis.

2. The desire for difference in matriarchy

If our society were female-dominant, a breast should function as Phallus. However, the case would be somewhat different from that of penis. Since an infant girl as well as an infant boy does not have a rich breast like mother at first, the castration inferiority complex would be such anxiety; “Mummy may eternally stop my bosom from getting well-rounded for fear I might rob Daddy of his love…" On the other hand, an infant boy must have an inferiority complex, realizing his fate to have a poor breast forever.

Both a penis and a breast are signs that negate their deficiencies, a female sexual organ and a male poor breast. Although they can also differentiate sexes, the penis or the breast can be the object of desire as phallus because of its demonstrativeness and its graspable form (the word phallus stems from a Greek word meaning the swollen.)

3. The desire for difference in general

Just as money representing the economic capital and the graduation certificate representing the cultural capital are mere trivial pieces of paper in themselves, a penis and a breast are mere trivial pieces of meat in themselves. But these symbols can often be direct objects of fetish desire.

However, the sexual desire itself is not what I mean by the desire for difference. Men and women charm each other. So, sexual love has symmetry. On the other hand, the desire for difference is based on asymmetry. Although the poor long for the rich, the latter does not yearn for the former.