21 February 2021

Clara and the others, killed by men: Recalcati's analysis leads us astray

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Since she was sure that this was how it would end, Clara Ceccarellikilled with thirty stab wounds in Genoa by the ex- who had been torturing her for over a year, a fortnight ago had gone to pay for her own funeral. He did not want to get his son and old father into trouble. She was hyper-responsible. She was strong and thought of everyone. She wanted, as they say, to leave things in place. This is the horror in which Clara lived. Her terrible loneliness, her resignation. She knew that nobody would help her.

Clara e le altre, uccise da uomini: l'analisi di Recalcati ci porta fuori strada

Since the beginning of the year Clara she is the 13th woman killed by a man because she was a woman, understood as something to possess or dispose of.


A few days ago The Republic video interviewed the psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati on the theme of male violence (you can see it here). His analysis leads us astray. Better still: it continues to unnecessarily take us down the same road. Here are some of the things he said.

"Violence against women is racism, affects the woman as a place of the Other as is the case with the Jew, the black, the homosexual... Women embody the irreducible character of difference. Like the Jew, they are the embodiment of freedom. To suppress women is to suppress freedom'.

It is exactly the reverse. The dominance of men over women (Recalcati never uses this word, domain). is the original move. Racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia come after sexism and draw inspiration from that model. What emerges from Recalcati's words is theirreducible propensity to look at women as a minority, one of many. (disability is missing from the list, but the Zan law took care of that). This view is not waived. Jews, blacks and homosexuals certainly deserve justice, in Recalcati's view, as do women. But Understanding women as one of many minorities is a symbolic disaster that reproduces the conditions in which violence takes root. Women are the majority of humans, ontogeny confirms the primacy of the female human being. There are two differences, the woman is not exclusive. It is not she who is different from a prevailing human, the male. There is a male and a female difference. Recalcati's point of view remains phallogocentric.

"The fact that women are free is evident from their clothing. For men, clothing is the uniform, women have a more creative and generative relationship. There is no woman's uniform, the woman exceeds every uniform. There is a primacy of the phallus, a mental encumbrance that is expressed in competition, in performance. The woman is freed from the phallus, freed from this weight, she is freer... is aexception compared to the men's series.

Again: a normality arises -even to criticise it: the boredom of the male uniform, the heavy encumbrance of the phallus-. from which the feminine exceeds. Here we are again in full phallogocentrism: the masculine as the human norm, the feminine as the eccentric, the exception, and so on. At the end of this road is theabmaternal breast mentioned Julia Kristevathere is being a woman as an ontologically marginal condition though here magnified as better and even enviable. The mechanism is reproduced intact, even with the best of intentions. Nothing about that movement envious of women's capacity to give life, on which the huge patriarchal construction was built.. At that feeling of being expelled with one's male body from the female genealogy. On the furious divide and rule -body and spirit, flesh and mind, form and substance, nature and humanity- in order to change the rules of the game and produce a reversal: she will be the one who will be expelled and have to stay out. The climax is in that penis envy theory reversing womb envy and solemnly inaugurating the end of patriarchy. We women are not familiar with that envious feeling; we are all familiar with the perversion of male domination.

"Curbing violence is like learning a language...tonguing is the essence of male violence, depriving of speech... One should learn from poets. We need a sentimental education... The problems come when the sexual body separates from love. I would have the poets read, the great literature".

Here, too, a reversal. If anything, it is the language of the domain that is learned. The first language of every man and woman is the one patiently taught by the mother. Shortly after weaning and identification, the baby male is initiated into the pact between men based on the abandonment of the mother tongue and the contempt-domination of women, starting with the beloved mother. It is not enough to read the poets, not even Amor Cortese. Re-education and deconditioning of the violent male does not work if not as convenient alternatives to punishment. The problem, the male questionis that identity which is centred on the domain. The challenge is to be able to be men by betraying the pact and renouncing that device. Violence is only a function of envious domination, it serves to reaffirm it, it is the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is the domain.

"In macho violence there is always a paradoxically pedagogical impulse: teaching women how to be women.... in exchange for a supposed identity (conferred on the woman, ed.) power is exercised over the woman'.

In truth the identity at stake is male, not female. In the pedagogical intent of violence (in simple terms: in teaching it a lesson) it is the male identity that reasserts itself as incapable of structuring itself on anything other than domination and the theft of female power.

In conclusion: Recalcati's considerations offer a good essay on how phallogocentrism works, which in its 'good' version (of those good guys Meghan Murphy talks about) admits back into the system what it had had to exclude in order to establish itself and must continue to exclude, in a kind of endless loop. In short, here we see a inclusive phallogocentrism.

The questions that every man horrified by male violence has to answer today are these: What am I if I renounce dominion? What do I put in its place? How do I stand without it? And how will I escape punishment from other men for betraying the pact?

Marina Terragni

UpdateI did not expect answers from Massimo Recalcati. Even in the sense that I did not feel the need to. I imagined he would ignore. But apparently the anger at what I wrote - to be precise: that I had taken the liberty of writing - was such that it produced this formidable acting out

Clara e le altre, uccise da uomini: l'analisi di Recalcati ci porta fuori strada

Many of his astonished followers asked him about this apodictic aphorism, halfway between a Baci Perugina motto and an Mra outburst, but there was no way around it. More: Prof. Recalcati followed up his outrage by blocking and banning left and right on his Facebook page (gives an excellent account of this here Monica Ricci Sargentini).

It must be inferred that: feminism is his, he manages it and he explains it to you.It is called mansplaining and this is a known phenomenon. And that there is good feminism -the one he likes- and there is 'ideological feminism', the one that doesn't give him the ola.

More: Recalcati speaks to me but does so obliquely, and contemptuously does not mention me. Or does not recognise me. As he would say, rips my tongue out. But always as he says strapping the tongue is the essence of male violence, depriving of speech. But always as he says in the video interview, today women are talking. Especially when it comes to saying what a woman is, which they understand.

Indeed, I am a woman, a feminist, and I speak.


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