Disgusted by the Female: A Psychoanalytic Reading of the Myth of Gorgon Medusa

  • Veronika Berkutova


The article investigates the tale of Gorgon Medusa from the perspective of the psychoanalytic theory of the disgusting. Turning to the works of Sigmund Freud and
Lou Andreas-Salomé, the author uncovers the particularities of disgust at every stage of a child’s psychosexual development. Experiencing the disgusting turns out to be related to the maternal Other and the lost abject—a relation thoroughly examined in Julia Kristeva’s theory and bearing some reference to the conceptualization of trauma in the work of Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger. The Gorgon myth unites psychoanalytical conceptions of castration anxiety with a feminist reflection on the topic of the female. In culture, the female is often repressed or marked as something horrible, vile, low, and disgusting. Through a discussion of the disgusting and sublime object, which are simultaneously incorporated in the image of the Gorgon, her link to the function of sublimation is revealed, as well as her connection to the birth of visual art as such. Finally, an encounter with Medusa’s unbearable gaze points to her being das Ding, which opens the door to understanding the female as Other.

Author Biography

Veronika Berkutova

Psychoanalyst, Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychoanalitc Theory of the East European Institute for Psychonalaysis,
Bol’shoy Prospect 18А, St Petersburg, Russia
E-mail: veronika.berkutova@yandex.ru


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How to Cite
Berkutova, V. (2022). Disgusted by the Female: A Psychoanalytic Reading of the Myth of Gorgon Medusa. Stasis, 12(2). Retrieved from https://stasisjournal.net/index.php/journal/article/view/198