Writing about club culture in Interview in the early '80s, Glenn O'Brien argued that dancing is the ideal form of cultural resistance against fascism, because its rhythmic fluidity works to dissolve the rigidities of what Wilhelm Reich called character armor
. Greil Marcus had a more skeptical take on dance-floor utopianism in a 1993 column for Artforum.
Reich was convinced that "if man could live by his instincts and not in submission to his character armor not only would life be freer and richer than it is but also many moral problems and indeed many physical illnesses including cancer would never occur" (Rycroft 33).
The metaphor is based on Reich's notion of "character armor," neurosis manifested in the body.
"Character Armor" is the emotional armor people use as protection from stress.
Konia follows Reich in his advocacy of removing the inhibitions of "Character Armor," layers of personality and social inhibition that can give rise to antisocial behavior.
Early in his analytic work, Reich's search for the emotional intensity so often absent in his patients led to his discovery that feelings were bound up in and by rigid character reactions and structure, what he called "character armor." Not only was this contrary to the idea held by psychoanalysts that people with neurotic symptoms, such as phobias, compulsions, and irrational anxieties, were otherwise healthy, it was also the first time that the character--the chronic characteristic way an individual interacts with the world--was identified as defensive.
In the late 1920s, Reich observed that individuals with rigid character defenses (rigid character armor) also had muscular hypertrophy and rigidity.
An avoidance device became a character armor
. Even in adulthood hardly anyone expects Lee to make arrangements to pay bills or to remember to send birthday cards.
Like Nevelson's art overall, this monument to melancholia suggests the most magical character armor
Encased in character armor
, Vladimir cannot accept Milena's sexual importunities.