Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Feminities, Masculinities, Sexualities, Freud and Beyond

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Feminities, Masculinities, Sexualities, Freud and Beyond

Article excerpt

NANCY CHODOROW: Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities. Freud and Beyond. The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1994, 132 pp., $20.00 (cloth), $9.95 (paper), ISBN 08131 0828-4.

There are times when we emphasize the differences between men and women and times when we attempt to minimize them. In our time, we have seen an increasing social equalization between the genders. Despite this, though, there remain troublesome tensions and conflicts in the sexual sphere. In Freud's era, gender relations were determined by patriarchal standards that defined man as the gender of reference and woman as the "other." And yet Freud, with his discovery of the unconscious and the essentially sexual nature of early childhood relationships began to see women in a more differentiated light.

In Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, Nancy Chodorow, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, examines what theory of gender psychoanalysis has to offer and she criticizes the basic assumption of normative heterosexuality from a feminist point of view.

In chapter 1, "Rethinking Freud on Women," she suggests that we reevaluate Freud's writing on female psychology and compare it with his actual attitude toward women by using the following categories: (1) what characterizes his theoretical view on female development; (2) what can we learn about the application of his theory in the case histories of women patients; (3) how accurate was his description of women's own experience and internal representation of their womanhood; (4) how much was he able to understand women in a historical context, and (5) what was his relationship toward his female colleagues in the Psychoanalytic Society?

Considering the sum total of his connections with women, a complex picture emerges. Chodorow swiftly exposes Freud's theoretical model of women as being through the lens of a man. She criticizes him for making penis envy and castration anxiety the central motor for female development because, she argues, this made women into a latent projection of man. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.