Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicks of the Assimilated Animus

Jung talks of the anima and animus as the unconscious's ego--a dark figure of our dreams--for men it's an elusive princess, devouring witch, beautiful maiden asleep in a block of ice; for women a werewolf lover, a dark demon wolf with big eyes all the better to drink your essence with, like Twilight. The animus is best exemplified in the Beauty and the Beast myth. The unassimilated animus is a wild beast, untamed and surly. The assimilated is tamed and 'absorbed' into the female consciousness, i.e. once the animus becomes a prince and not a beast, the woman starts to get bossy and surly herself!

Don't we see this all the time in marriages? Before the marriage the man is in charge, tall and dominating... sometime after the wedding the alchemical change occurs and the woman starts bossing him around, making important decisions. In my essay on the TWILIGHT mythos, "Someone to Fight Over Me," I mentioned the idea of a split in feminine personae along the line of the assimilated animus. The chicks that love being 'dominated' by dream lover Edwards, and women who protest the books without having read them, who reject the unconscious outright, and insist on literal interpretations for all life's mysteries. As Jung notes:

Jung notes that the animus in an adult, integrated female consciousness:
..expresses itself in the form of opinionated views, interpretations, insinuations, and misconstructions, which all have the purpose (sometimes attained) of severing the relation between two human beings. The woman, like the man, becomes wrapped in a veil of illusions between her demon-familiar, and, as the daughter who alone understands her father (that is, he's eternally right in everything), she is translated to the land of sheep, where she is put to graze by the shepherd of her soul, the animus.
The following actresses are, I would say, classic examples of this kind of energy (listed in order of its intensity):

Annette Benning, Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Fanning, Tina Fey
Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, Kate Jackson, Anne Heche, Judy Davis, Helen Mirren, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Hillary Clinton, Tia Leoni, Lily Tomlin, Margot Kidder, Vivian Leigh, Anne Hathaway,  Angela Bassett, Sigourney Weaver, Jean Arthur, Pam Grier, Lucy Liu

A little bossy maybe, too smart for their own good, the assimilated animus chick has a tendency to second guess everything ("is he a --- or a hedgehog?") Judy Davis is the archetypal version of how to make that sexy, Annette Benning the opposite. Sharon Stone the Dietrich-esque extreme, Mirren, Paltrow and Linda Fiorentino are sexy variations. Keaton is the assimilated animus as comic; Heche as professional yet foxy; Tina Fey as the super competent but self-lacerating wit; Hershey the languid intellect. Their natural state is one of order - fault-finding, judgment, praise, demands, OCD-ism -- they are the type to boss their husband around.

If they're paired with another woman, ideally they're on the other side of the Animus assimilation divide: Monroe-Bacall, Benning-Moore, Keaton-Hawn, Kate Jackson-Farrah Fawcett:

UNassmiliated - When a guy gets mad and tells her she has to think for herself, does he even realize he's being hypocritical, presuming he's allowed to think for her? Shouldn't she say fuck you I'll not think for myself? And in doing so think for herself even deeper than he knows? That's the deliciousness of the unassimilated aniums. These girls drive men nuts because they seem so easy to control, but their innocence runs its own game twice as deep as your dominating shit and you lose your mind.

Julianne Moore , Cybil Shepherd, Rachel McAdams
Amy Adams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barbara Hershey,
Kim Novak, Ursula Andress, Kim Hunter
Anita Pallenberg, Winona Ryder, Eva Marie Saint
Kristen Stewart, Sarah Palin, Sue Lyon
Anna Karina, Ruth Gordon, Brigite Bardot, Amy Poehler, Isabelle Adjani
Veronica Lake, Patricia Arquette
Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe, Tanya Roberts, Uma Thurman, Sissy Spacek, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Goldie Hawn, Carole Lombard, Emily Watson, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz

Pallenberg is the most free; Kristen Stewart the most deer in the headlights-esque; Ryder and Portman the most demurely intelligent; Palin the bravely, blithely ignorant; Monroe the most tragic, Lake and Lyon the most kitten-esque. The spirit of the animus looms like an abusive father over Karina, Roberts, Spacek, Bardot, Adjani, while feisty sprite of the woods energy suffuses Ruth Gordon, Poehler, McAdams, Diaz they're natural state is one of jubilation.

The most insidious of Femme Fatales, deftest comediennes, endearingest psychos, sometimes they're one pretending to be the other (Fonda, Hayworth, Eckland, Parker pretending to be assimilated, Roberts, Roth and Loy the reverse), sometimes right on the pinhead, the best of both worlds: Bullock, Jolie, Taylor, Balk, Lewis, Lynch, Gardner, or worst - Sean Young, Raquel Welch, Demi Moore, Halle Berry, and of course, maestros that transcend gender and such issues altogether to be almost beyond sex or fixed identity, if you imagine having sex with them you only slide into their soul and identify with them, they're too much like you, they're in too deep. You are their animus, and they are your unborn mother -- Watts, Janet Leigh, Mae West, Tyson, Dietrich and Garland)

Juliette Lewis, Kelly Lynch, Fairuza Balk, Mae West, Liz Taylor
Cicely Tyson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marlene Dietrich
Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts
Ava Gardner, Angelina Jolie, Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy
Angie Dickenson, Jane Fonda, Lillian Roth, Britt Eckland, Judy Garland, Naomi Watts, Janet Leigh, Milla Jovovovich, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis

Lastly, the total chamelons, are they sociopaths,? No, just ballsy, and brilliant, they'll outman you, stare down a charging rhino, and then turn on a dime to comfort a frightened child:

Mia Farrow, Barbara Stanwyck, Asia Argento, Kathleen Turner, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz, Keira Knightley, Ingrid Bergman, Vera Farmiga

Now, days after I made this list I don't even know if it's right. But one day I just felt I had it. It was all so clear. Now I'm back in the clouds of my own anima... she's spurns me like a churlish ventriloquist spurns its dummy. Don't think this is some sexist thing that applies only to women. Thing is, most men aren't nearly as evolved as women so actors are either hams, narcissists, or clinically insane. That's life, if you want to be Jungian.


Volvagia said...

You missed Gena Rowlands on the last section.

Volvagia said...

And I'd love to see your take on the male side of this Jungian divide, personally.

Volvagia said...

I mean, even if this is ham, it's some delightful ham: "I'm BAD Ash. And you're GOOD Ash." (30 seconds of Bad Ash saying, "You're a goody little too shoes" while punching Good Ash, after which Ash fires a shotgun into his nose.) "Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun." The other big one is, "The only things you have are Jack and shit. And Jack just left."

Anonymous said...

I wish this post made more sense to me. #headscratch

Janice said...

Are you talking about life, or about the movies? Because that's not quite how it's worked out in the marriages I've seen. Wow, way to stereotype all women.

Janice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erich Kuersten said...

Talking about movies, i.e. iconic archetypal resonance...of course, and my own perceptions through the Jungian archetypal looking glass.

The male divide can be stereotyped perfectly in The ODD COUPLE between Felix -assimilated anima, and Oscar, still leaving huge messes around in hopes some sky mom will come clean them up.

I knew I'd get some angry feedback over this post, but thought it might spark a dialogue, heated or not.

Even the old and sexist templates of Freud and Jung have value as stepping off points, especially when dealing with the way our love of film icons intersects with unconscious archetypes. We shouldn't try to enforce political activism and progressiveness on our dreams and unconscious, anymore than we should get mad that the queen in a deck of cards is below the king in value -- sometimes a card is just a card, and dreams lag notoriously behind reality when it comes to updated social mores.

Volvagia said...

Good for you. Sorry I'm responsible for half the comments here.

Jeremy said...

Brilliant post, and comprehensive knowledge of actresses! But... what of Huppert? STREEP?! said...

And if you like Ava Gardner, you might enjoy AVA GARDNER: TOUCHES OF VENUS (Entasis Press, 2010), an anthology of fiction, non-fiction, and verse about the inimitable Ava. Ms. Gardner's biographer Lee Server called it "a divine tribute to the Goddess of sex, glamour, and passion."