Changing Our Minds: Lesbian Feminism and Psychology

By Perkins, Rachel; Kitzinger, Celia | Herizons, Winter 1996 | Go to article overview

Changing Our Minds: Lesbian Feminism and Psychology


Perkins, Rachel, Kitzinger, Celia, Herizons


CHANGING OUR MINDS: LESBIAN FEMINISM AND PSYCHOLOGY.

Is therapy feminist? The short answer, according to British psychologist Celia Kitzinger and Rachel Perkins, is "no". A longer answer is provided in their challenging book Changing Our Minds.

As lesbians, Kitzingr and Perkins aim much of their criticism at feminist therapy because it's "the form of psychology that is now most influential for many lesbians in the English-speaking world". According to studies cited in the book, therapists have counselled three out of every four lesbians in the United States, and popular psychology books for lesbians are bestsellers. I expect the situation is similar in Canada.

The authors explore the way psychology has depoliticized our language. Here are a few examples:

"Homo-" and "lexbo-phobia" are psychological words now commonly used to explain lesbian hating. Kitzinger and Perkins believe that "society's hostility to us is not an irrational phobia but a political response to the real threat we pose to patriarchy".

"Should", they say, "is one example of a word that therapists recommend we dispense with. One shouldn't have to do anything except what feels right." As the authors point out, "psychology refuses to take a moral stand and urges us to toss out our sense of right and wrong and focus on our own needs."

Feminist psychology has redefined existing political words like "freedom", "revolution" and "liberation". Kitzinger and Perkins argue that these words used to mean something we had to fight for in our society. Now they happen within us - especially if we're in therapy.

But aren't therapists experts? Don't they help women? Kitzinger and Perkins argue that "therapists are only expert at translating the language of politics into the language of psychological health and sickness." Those of us, for instance, who are opposed to S/M and pornography, are "Erotophobic".

The authors agree that a lot of women are in a lot of pain; however, they argue that what helps women is being heard and understood. They believe that "this is something non-therapist lesbians are perfectly capable of doing for each other in the context of friendship or consciousness-raising groups...To the extent that we are not," say the authors, "that is an indictment of our movement. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Changing Our Minds: Lesbian Feminism and Psychology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.