Film Theory: Fetishism

Another Freudian term, fetishism refers to the perversion whereby men strive to discover the penis in the woman in order to grant themselves erotic satisfaction.

Thus, long hair, a high-heel shoe, or long, sharp earrings may stand in for the penis.

Fear of castration underlies fetishism in that sexual excitement is impossible with a creature who lacks the penis, or something that represents it.

In the cinema, the whole female body may be “fetishized” in order to counteract the fear of sexual difference, i.e. of castration.