Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Foot allure: From the cradle to the grave
In antiquity the foot was used as a symbol of speed, vitality and success and often inscribed on coins, amulets and tablets. The Greek word for foot and female genitalia come from the same phonemic pattern and words like foot, sandal, earth, and shackle have identical etymological origins. Feet both figuratively and literally have strong symbolic meaning which in language take us from the cradle to the grave. These feelings reflect our unconscious beliefs and fantasies from language, culture and mythology.
At the beginning of the last century Freud recognized his patient’s references to feet and foot symptomatology revealed rich and significant psychological data. He wrote three essays on the theory of sexuality (1905) and noted the foot served as a sexual symbol (phallic) whilst later he referred to shoes and slippers as female genitalia (1910). Freud was interested in exploring early life traumas and what he referred to as the castration threat. He believed males were psychologically challenged when they saw women with no penis.
For some the foot or shoe becomes a substitute for the invisible penis and in the minds of the fetishist reduces castration anxiety and makes the women complete. Some men were left attracted to the foot or shoe with the sight of a women wearing what may appear uncomfortable footwear, sexually exhilarating. Observing a limp can both bring out both a stimulus to nurture or an aggression to attack for some.
Freud also described the smelly foot as the object of sexual interest. Modern research has shown the presence of pheromones in human sweat and the existence of a small sensitive organ, up your nose, called the vomeronasal organ (VNO). This sensitive organ helps pick out scents which allow us to become sexually attracted to others.