Monday, March 14, 2011

The Silent Sufferer

At the end of The Sublime Object of Ideology, Zizek gives the example of the "suffering mother" to illustrate the "beautiful soul syndrome." What does he mean by this? Basically that the mother as the "pillar of the family" silently plays the role of the passive worker, the glue that holds together the messy framework of the family unit, who sacrifices her life and happiness for the well-being of the family. This is her imaginary identification. In short, her identity comes from this sacrificial role.

Even though the suffering mother groans over her sacrifice, this same groaning is an indicator that this sacrifice and identity is what gives her life actual meaning. Take it away and she has no real purpose in life. In order to really break the bond, she must learn to sacrifice the sacrifice. Zizek writes: "The mother's fault is therefore not simply in her 'inactivity' in silently enduring the role of exploited victim, but in actively sustaining the social-symbolic network in which she is reduced to playing such a role."

No comments:

Post a Comment