The Young-Girl as technique of the self

"What's 'pleasure'?"

Nothing in the Young-Girl's life, even in the remotest parts of her private life, escapes alienated reflexivity, codification, and the gaze of the Spectacle.  This private life, littered with commodities, is completely given up to advertising, and completely socialized, but socialized as a private life, meaning that it is bit by bit subjected to an artificial ordinariness which doesn't allow its expression.  For the Young-Girl, the most secret is also the most public.

The Young-Girl's body encumbers her; it is her world and it is her prison.

The Young-Girl's physiology is the offensive glacis of her poor substantiality.

The Young-Girl desires the Young-Girl.  The Young-Girl is the Young-Girl's ideal.

"Tired of macho-men?  Why not give a man-object a try?"

The rhetoric of the war of the sexes, and thus - for now - the rhetoric of the revenge of women, operates like the final ruse by which masculine logic conquers women without them noticing: by shutting them in, with a simple reversal of roles, to alternating between submission/domination, with the exclusion of everything else.  

"What does the mortification of the body require?  That we harbor a holy and implacable hatred towards our bodies."  (Spiritual instructions for the sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul, 1884)

The Young-Girl tries to express her self-referential closure in upon herself and her systematic ignorance of her unfulfillment.  That's why she's faultless, and in the same way why she lacks any perfection.

In the relatively recent prehistory when women's magazines were made only for women, a rumor went around for a while that they had a depressive effect on their readers.  It was said here and there - and it was the least of the malicious gossip of that time - that there had been an "American scientific study" done that said that after a woman put down one of those magazines she was noticeably sadder than she had been upon opening it - at least she certainly produced less serotonin.  And it's true; if you've ever seen a young girl engaged in such exercise, you'll have noticed that she's got a kind of concerned air about her, an anguished seriousness, and a kind of haste to turn the pages, as if she were rolling the rosary beads of some sinister religion or another.  It appears that in the Empire's biopolitical religion, the act of contrition has survived just fine, and has only become more immanent now.

"It's my hair and I can do what I want with it!"

The Young-Girl methodically reinvests everything she's been freed from into pure servitude (ask yourself, for example, what the modern woman which is a rather terrible kind of Young-Girl, has done with the "freedom" that feminism's struggles have won for her.)

The Young-Girl is merely an attribute of her own programming, where everything must organize itself.

"When I was twelve years old I decided to be beautiful."

The tautological nature of the Young-Girl's beauty requires that no otherness concern her, only its ideal representation.  Thus to a terrible extent she rejects her allegedly intended recipients, no matter how free they are to stupidly believe that she's addressing herself to them.  The Young-Girl thus sets up such a space of her power that in the end there's no way of approaching her.       

The Young-Girl has a sexuality at all to the exact extent that she is foreign to all sensuality.  

Consequently, the biologization of the genitals in particular and of the body in general sets the body of the young girl up as an ideal laboratory for the medical gaze." (Jean-Claude Caron, Young Girls' bodies)

The Young-Girl's "youth" and "femininity," her youthitude and feminitude in fact, are how appearance control deepens into body discipline.

The Young-Girl's ass is enough to give her a basis to feel an incommunicable singularity.

The Young-Girl is such a psychologist... She's managed to make herself just as flat as the object of psychology.

The Young-Girl is she whose very being depends on the metaphysical fact of finiteness being reduced to a simple technical question: what's the most effective anti-wrinkle cream?  The most touching characteristic of the Young-Girl is doubtless this maniacal effort to attain, in appearance, that definitive impermeability to time and space, to her surroundings and history, her effort to be impeccable everywhere and at all times.

The protestant ethic, which has fallen as the general principle behind the operation of society and as a behavioral norm upon the end of "the morality of labor," has at the same time been worked back in entirely on an individual level; this has taken place in an accelerated manner since the end of the second world war.  Now it governs on a mass scale over the relationships that people have with their bodies, their passions, their lives - they economize on them.

Certainly, because eroticism presents itself to the Young-Girl with all the unquestionable positivity inevitably attaching itself to sexuality, and because transgression itself has become a calm, isolatable and quantified norm, coitus is not one of those things that allow any advancement outside of a certain exteriority in the relationships one has with the Young-Girl, but on the contrary it is one of those things that solidify you within that exteriority.

"I'm getting new boobs for my 18th birthday."

The Spectacle's "youth," with which it has gratified the Young-Girl, is a very bitter present, since that "youth" is something that is incessantly being lost.

What's alive doesn't need to ever-increasingly declare itself.

What's dying shows on its surface that it's coming to an end.  And the Young-Girl's all-out gender affirmation is a clear demonstration of the fact that  the classical gender roles are dying, meaning that their material basis is dying.  The specter of Man and Woman haunts the metropolis' streets.  Their muscles come from the Workout Club and their breasts are silicone.

There's a window between the Young-Girl and the world.  Nothing touches the Young-Girl, and the Young-Girl touches nothing.

nothing about the Young-Girl's identity belongs to her in particular, her "youth" even less than her "femininity."  it's not her that has attributes, but attributes that have her, and that is so generously lent to her.

The Young-Girl chases health as if it were a question of safety.

The feeling of the self as MEAT, as a bunch of organs variously decked with ovaries or flanked by nuts, is the basis from which begins the aspiration, then the failure of the Young-Girl to give herself a form, or at least to simulate having one.  This feeling is not only a lived consequence of the aberrations of occidental metaphysics - which would like the formless to precede form, brought to it from outside - it is also what commodity domination must perpetuate at all costs; and which it produces constantly with the putting of all bodies into equivalence, by the denial of forms of life (lifestyles), by the continual exercise of an undifferentiating interference.  The loss of contact with the self, the crushing of all intimacy with the self that gives rise to the feeling of yourself as MEAT, gives rise to the sine qua non condition for the renewed adoption of the techniques of the self that the Empire offers you for consumption.  The penetration index of all of the cheap commodity crap out there can be read in how intensely you feel yourself to be MEAT. 

The exhausting propriety of bodies

Blooms' feeling of contradiction between their existence as social beings and their existence as singular beings, which tears them apart, does not touch the Young-Girl, who has no more singular existence than she does any feelings in general.

"Me and my breasts, my belly-button, my butt, my legs: THE MAGAZINE OF MY BODY"

The Young-Girl is her own jailer, the prisoner of a body that has become a sign in a language made of bodies.

"Oh the cult, the obedience, the servitude of the young girl before the image of the school girl and the image of the modern girl! ... Oh the slavery to style pushed all the way to self-destruction, oh the docility of the young girl!   (Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke)

"The deeply rooted instinct among women that urges them to use perfumes is the manifestation of a biological law.  The primary duty of a woman is to be attractive... It hardly matters how intelligent or independent you are; if you can't influence the men that you meet, consciously or not, you won't meet your fundamental obligation as a woman..." (1920s perfume ad from the US)

The Young-Girl conceives of her own existence as a management problem she needs to resolve.

More than it designates a relationship with others, a social relationship, or a form of symbolic integration, the Young-Girl designates a relationship with the self, that is, to time.

Contrary to appearances, the Young-Girl doesn't care about herself.  She's not an egoist, properly speaking, nor egocentric, and that's primarily because her "I" is actually someone else.  What she devotes all her care to, with stubborn piety, is in fact a reality that is external to her: her "body."

The application of the capital-form to everything - capital health, capital sun, capital sympathy, etc. - and in a more singular manner to the body, means that mediation by the alienated social totality has entered into relationships previously ruled by immediacy.

In the Young-Girl, the tension between convention and nature is apparenly absorbed by the annihilation of the meaning of those terms, to such an extent that the one never appears to do any violence to the other.

The Young-Girl is like capitalism, servants, and protozoans: she knows how to adapt, and furthermore, she's proud of it.

Contrary to what happened in traditional societies, which recognized the existence of worthless things and exposed them as such, the Young-Girl denies their existence, and hides them.

The Young-Girl's appearance is the Young-Girl herself; there's nothing in between.

Like all slaves, the Young-Girl thinks herself to be much more watched than she really is.

The Young-Girl's absence from herself is not contradicted by any of the "care" she appears to give to herself.

The Young-Girl is never as plastic as she'd like to be.

The Young-Girl doesn't like wrinkles, wrinkles don't conform, wrinkles are the mark of having lived, life doesn't conform.  The Young-Girl fears wrinkles as much as she does all true EXPRESSION.

As a self-consciousness, the Young-Girl has but a vague feeling of life.

For the Young-Girl bare life is still a function of habit.

The Young-Girl lives sequestered in her own "beauty."

The Young-Girl doesn't love, she loves herself loving.

"Zen, speed, organic: 3 lifestyle systems."

The Young-Girl doesn't go so far as to demand that the fleeting conventions that she subjects herself to have any meaning to them.

The Young-Girl understands all relationships on the basis of contracts, and more precisely on the basis of revocable contracts that can be taken back at any time depending on the interests of the contractees.  Bargaining on the differential value of each on the seduction market where someone's got to reap the dividends in the end.

"ARE YOU OK WITH YOUR BODY?  Are you keeping up your young form, with its graceful curves?  Is the carpentry solid?  The clothes silky?  Are you doing alright?"

The Young-Girl daily produces herself as such, by her maniacal reproduction of the dominant ethos.

"How to gain ten years with a good lifestyle."

A cosmetics multinational recently lauched an ad-heavy campaign for an anti-wrinkle cream called Ethique [ethics].  What that meant at the same time is that there's nothing so ethical as painting shit all over yourself when you wake up in order to get in conformity with the categorical imperative of youthiness, and that there could be no other ethos than that of the Young-Girl.

"Beauty" is the mode of disclosure proper to the Young-Girl within the Spectacle.  That's why she's also a generic product that carries within itself all the abstractions of what is found in the obligation to address oneself to a certain segment of the sexual market in which everything resembles everything else.


The Young-Girl is never satisfied with her submission to commodity metaphysics, with the docility of her whole being, and visibly of her whole body, under the Spectacle's norms.  That's why she feels the need to show it off.

"They've wounded me in what is most dear to me: my image." (Silvio Berlusconi)

The Young-Girl always lives in a couple relationship: with her image.

The Young-Girl confirms the physiological reach of commodity semiocracy.

"How beautiful are you?  No, beauty isn't a subjective measure.  As opposed to charm, a rather vague notion, beauty is calculated in centimeters, divided into fractions, weighed, examined under the magnifying glass, evaluated in a thousand hidden details.  So stop hiding away behind hippy-cool principles like "inner beauty, that's what counts," "I've got my own style," and dare to measure yourself with the greats!"

The Young-Girl's beauty is produced.  She herself isn't afraid to say: "beauty doesn't fall from the sky," that is, it's the fruit of labor.

The Young-Girl's self-control and self-constraint are obtained by the introjection of two unquestionable "necessities," that of reputation and that of health.

"Today, to not suffer isn't a luxury anymore, it's a right."

Officially, the Young-Girl would have preferred to become some thing that feels rather than some Bloom that suffers.

The Young-Girl pursues plastic perfection in all its forms, notably her own.

From body building to anti wrinkle creams by way of liposuction, the Young-Girl always has the same dedication to making an abstraction of her body, and making her body an abstraction.

"All that can be done to reconcile yourself with your image."

Whatever extent her narcissism reaches to, the Young-Girl doesn't love herself, what she loves is "her" image, that is, something that's not just foreign and external, but which, in the full sense of the term, possesses her.  And the Young-Girl lives beneath the tyranny of this ungrateful master.

The Young-Girl is above all a perspective on the passing of time, but a perspective incarnate.

changed April 6, 2011