Olivier Ouvry, Eric Bidaud : dysmorphophobia, pubertary process and adolescent process

Dysmorphophobic fears refer to apprehensions about what a position sexually differentiated as either masculine or feminine can evoke regarding a commitment that cannot be maintained in others’ eyes. Starting with the conviction that a shameful negativity is contained within an imaginary hole in the body, the adolescent boy or girl feels excluded from social interplay and from all registers of seduction, and takes refuge in this outcast condition, thus « taking a vacation » from the trials of sexual difference. Also, the whole problematic of veiling situates the adolescent towards what we could call his « re-visagification », a necessary response to his questioning within the field of the exchange of gazes.

In this article, we will define a path which may be traced along a circle whose two ends do not come together, but which form an ascending spiral: the starting point is the real of the body, the initial evidence of the pubertary process, experiences as the Other sex (the Feminine), then the experience of shame, of dysmorphophobia, and of the creation of the aesthetic object for covering up that experience of emptiness.

revue Adolescence, 2011, T. 29 n°4, pp. 801-818.