Revolutions of the Heart: Gender, Power, and the Delusions of Love

By Wendy Langford | Go to book overview

5


THE DAUGHTER’S SUBMISSION

The analysis presented in Chapter 4 provides a partial explanation: ‘maternalisation’ habituated women to a role which their feminine conditioning rendered familiar and which offered some ‘compensatory gratifications’. Certain forms of pleasure and control were manifest in women’s presentation of themselves as mature, clever and capable in comparison with male partners who were immature, inept and easily manipulable. Feelings of strength and pride could be attached to the ability to ‘hold it all together’ in spite of everything. This, however, is not a sufficient explanation for women’s relative acquiescence since, as women became ‘maternalised’, they also felt abandoned, deeply hurt and devalued, and came to practise a self-denial which produced internal contradictions and persisting resentments. Given that it is precisely the painful contradictions inherent in adult femininity that are blissfully ‘healed’ when women become ‘somebody’ through romantic transformation, why is there not more evidence in the study of stronger and more sustained resistance to the process of maternalisation and a more sharply critical view of the ‘benefits’ which it offered? While the answer to this question is far from self-evident, it is clearly rooted in the powerful desires and deep compulsions which women

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Revolutions of the Heart: Gender, Power, and the Delusions of Love
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Government by Love 1
  • 2 - Romantic Transformations 23
  • 3 - Analysing Love 42
  • 4 - Everybody’s Mummy 64
  • 5 - The Daughter’s Submission 89
  • 6 - Dialectics of Love 114
  • 7 - Misguided Revolutions 141
  • Appendix 154
  • Bibliography 158
  • Index 164
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