Gunnar can’t find comfort in his own skin, in the body of a boy, in his identity in contrast to his sisters. He is overwhelmed and enraptured by womanhood.
Everything that means something to him and is of value to him is attached to women, their bodies, voices and characters. They are everything and he is nothing. They are desirable whilst he is not.
He thinks that, in the eyes of women, he lacks something, to attract them, to keep them close, to make them love him. He is convinced that he cannot be loved naturally, unconditionally, that he needs to transform himself for someone else. The desire and sexuality that he witnessed excluded him and he tries to be a part of something that he simply cannot comprehend, but ends up chasing after. He sees meaning in it.
Nothing matters more to Gunnar than the approval of his mother, his visibility, but he’ll remain on the sidelines.
“Mutter mit Kind” by Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880)