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Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities

Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond

Nancy J. Chodorow
Series: Blazer Lectures
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities
    Book Description:

    Nancy J. Chodorow takes her fellow psychoanalysts to task for their monolithic and pathologizing accounts of deviant gender and sexuality. Drawing from her own clinical experience, the work of Freud, and a close reading of psychoanalytic texts, Chodorow argues that psychoanalysis has yet to disentangle male dominance from heterosexuality. Further, she demonstrates the paucity of psychoanalytics understanding of heterosexuality and the problematic polarizing of normal and abnormal sexualities. By returning to Freud and interpreting psychoanalysis through clinical eyes, Chodorow contends that psychoanalysis must consider individual specificity and personal, cultural, and social factors. Such a methodology entails a plurality of femininities and masculinities and enables us to understand a variety of sexualities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4607-2
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Richard Edwards

    Sigmund Freud continues to fascinate, irritate, and stimulate social thinkers a century after he initiated his psychoanalytic studies. Some credit him with having revealed to us the previously hidden dynamics of the unconscious, and they see his monumental discoveries as no less significant than those his contemporaries were making about the structure of the atom or relativity. Others—and this strain has been evident in some recent scholarship—blame him for opportunist, even craven, theorizing and sloppy, perhaps unscrupulous clinical technique. Freud’s cultural and especially his gender biases have long been lamented. Critics of psychoanalysis argue that its propositions remain...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. 1 Rethinking Freud on Women
    (pp. 1-32)

    Psychoanalysis continues to vex and intrigue much of our thinking about gender and sexuality. In recent years, vexation has emerged from many sources. Feminist and gay and lesbian writers have challenged the normative masculinity, masculine bias, devaluation of women, homophobia, and heterosexism found in much psychoanalytic writing, as well as psychoanalytic clinical practice and politics in these arenas. They have also focused on putative essentialism and universalism in psychoanalytic theories, criticizing essentialism in the psychoanalytic assumption of two normative models of development—that of the girl and that of the boy—and in its pervasive and often unacknowledged biological determinism,...

  6. 2 Heterosexuality As a Compromise Formation
    (pp. 33-69)

    The preceding chapter contrasts the wide variety of Freudian accounts of women (and men) with the account of normal femininity (and masculinity) that we often take to be—and that Freud also takes to be—theFreudian theory. This theory of “normal femininity,” an account of the normative desiderata of female development, fits itself best into an account of women in heterosexual relationship to men. Along with a complementary account of male development and character, and with Freud’s various accounts of perversion and typical masculine object choices, we find in these writings the origins of a psychoanalytic theory of sexuality....

  7. 3 Individuality and Difference in How Women and Men Love
    (pp. 70-92)

    The preceding two chapters have laid out tensions and conflicts in psychoanalytic theories and ideologies of sex and gender. In “Heterosexuality as a Compromise Formation” I pointed out that psychoanalysis provides us a normative—and an empirical (that is, one based on clinical observation)—story that ties heterosexuality to male dominance and sexuality to gender. I also suggested that as psychoanalysts move from contrasting men and women to contrasting heterosexual and homosexual, they tend both to bracket and to assume gender difference. In contrasting normal heterosexuality with homosexuality, gender is minimized and prevalent gender differences in sexuality and love disregarded,...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 93-114)
  9. References
    (pp. 115-126)
  10. Index
    (pp. 127-132)