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The victim

The painting of The Eternal Feminine reveals, at an archetypal level, a victim at the heart of absolute masculine shame. Accomplished looking men from all walks of life, led by the ultimate man of God, strain to gaze blindly at a woman who has been violently blinded: the purpose of transferring shame onto the victim is achieved. The maternal feminine becomes victim in the masculine attempt to replace shame with heroic pride.

This cultural and psychological expectation creates a remarkable and profoundly tragic distortion: it is shameful to suffer violence, yet it is a source of pride and honor to be the one who dispenses violence to others. There is good in harming others. Domination is superior to submission, and becomes the means through which violence becomes a noble crime that co-opts the higher self and its conscience. Shame and dependency is hidden in the bond between those who inflict it and those who endure it. It is an ideology that has taken such a profound toll on human life. The tragic fatality of power is that it “leads to a fundamental distortion of reality of man’s relationship to nature - and so can undermine his own well being” (Becker, 1975: 99).

Exterminating his helplessness through the victim remains a magnetizing fact of masculine shame, even if momentarily obscured by the individual’s fraudulent superiority maintained by brute acts of power: not even killing someone or having all the money in the universe can eradicate shame.

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