Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’ An Artistic Portrayal of Fetishism

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Through the changes in the gender roles as a result of fetishism, Lolita explores the consequences of human being’s attempt to go against the social norms. Hence, the movie not only explores the emotional and psychological effects of fetishism on human being, but also describes how fetishism affects the gender ole of human being, which is the core of his social and personal identity. Definition Fetishism can be defined as a condition where a person is sexually attracted to nonliving objects (Durand amp. Barlow, 2010, p. 369). Fetishism is also known as an over-investment in parts of body, most commonly the female body (Hayward, 2006, p. 421). However, fetishism is not only associated with nonliving objects or body parts, but can also be towards a person (Browne, 1982, p.1). The object of fetishism is known as a fetish. Usually, a fetish is an item that exerts extraordinary power over a person suffering from fetishism. Even though the power of fetish is magical and sacred to a person, it usually is dark power, as its effect on a person is negative and abnormal (Browne, 1982, p.1). The devotion of a fetishist towards the fetish is usually ‘closet’ devotion, i.e. hidden from other people in the society as fetish is an object whose attachment is considered abnormal in the society (Browne, 1982, p.1). …
of fetish is viewed by the society, fetishist cannot leave it as his emotional and psychological attachment to the fetish is abnormally strong (Browne, 1982, p.1). Due to the irrational and abnormal attachment to the fetish, fetishism is considered as the dark side of devotion (Browne, 1982, p.1). A fetishist becomes helpless in front of the power of fetish. This helplessness and miserable condition of a person suffering from fetishism is portrayed brilliantly through the character of Professor Humbert in the movie Lolita directed by Stanley Kubrick. Fetishism in Lolita In the movie Lolita, a living person, i.e. Lolita, is an object of professor Humbert’s fetishism. Fetishism causes a person great emotional distress and impairs the normal functioning of life, as the sexual urges, fantasies or behavior involving sexual arousals related to fetish are long term, recurring and intense in nature (Durand amp. Barlow, 2010, p. 369). These effects of fetishism are observed in the desperation and emotional distress that Humbert goes through while trying to ‘own’ Lolita and make her an inseparable part of his life. He becomes obsessed with Lolita to such an extent that he tries to possess her completely. The film also displays the aspect of fetishism known as fetishistic scopophilia. Fetishistic scopophilia refers to satisfaction that a person gets by looking at a beautiful object (Mulvey, 1988, p. 64). Hence, looking at a beautiful object in itself becomes a source of fetishist’s satisfaction (Mulvey, 1988, p. 64). However, fetishistic scopophlia not only provides satisfaction through ‘look’ but also arouses the subject’s erotic instincts (Mulvey, 1988, p. 64). This aspect of fetishism is visible in Humbert’s behavior pattern. Humbert becomes obsessed with Lolita