Helena Christensen's Story -or- Dreaming of the Death of Hitler
In the Rhetorical Name of Love -or- The Story of O
"In the Name of Love" by Jill Tweedie discusses "The Story of O" a woman who; "is humiliated, burned, kept half naked, chained, treated far worse than any animal, all in the name of love." Tweedie tells the story of many such women who have been recruited by authoritarian men. One woman who was subject to male domination was Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress and reportedly for almost two days before committing suicide, his wife.
In this "in the name of love" context, the Danish fashion model Helena Christensen reported having a dream (1);
"I dreamt that I was with Hitler in a bunker in the last moments of his life as he was about to die. We were lovers. I was his mistress. He knew he was loosing the war and wanted us both to die taking poison. He wanted me to do it first but even in my dream I knew I had to make him take the poison before me. I saw him die, and then I seemed transported myself ahead to 1995, the time of the dream."
A dream "To Russia with Love" sent to the IIDR by a Russian female student who dreamt of having sex with Lenin, illustrates the political rhetorical connection of power, sexuality, and subjectivity, a thematic that Michel Foucault discusses in his "History of Sexuality". Hitler represents the dark collective male shadow of the will of authoritarian men, to which Christensen will not rhetorically or politically bow to.
The feminist literary reading of the dream, appears to be saying, I will not be like Eva Braun who committed suicide with Hitler in 1945. Who the real powerful man (or men) in Christensen's life in 1995 might have made her feel this way, is known to only herself. Working in the fashion and beauty industry, we can perhaps take a page out of Naomi Wolf's "The Beauty Myth" to provide a context for her feelings?
The fact that she "saw him die", meaning Hitler (as a stand in for her real lover?), attests to the liberating erotic hatred directed at her evil personified lover, who she wishes was dead, if not physically then emotionally. Authoritarian power invariable poisons and corrupts the feelings of love, empathy and tenderness. Said differently, in any inter-personal relationship where love and power play a role, who has more power, the person that loves more, or the person that loves less?
- Lauren Lawrence, "Private Dreams of Public People."
- Erich Fromm, "Fear of Freedom"
- Jessica Benjamin, "The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination"