Phyllis Freud And The Subversion Of The Patriarchal Paradigm Summary

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Dana LaVergne’16 Dr. Maluso 10/10/14 Personality theory. Phyllis Freud and the Subversion of the Patriarchal Paradigm. Gloria Steinems 1994 satirical essay “ Womb Envy, Testyria and Breast castration anxiety” takes a feminist approach in disputing one of the most notorious and well know personality psychologists : Sigmund Freud. Freud’s work, including the psychosexual stages of development, the oedipus complex and penis envy make up three of the most contested areas of study for feminist psychologists. Throughout the Article, Steinem frames her critique of Freud using the argument that gender norms, roles and relations are social constructions. Furthermore, it is only after the norm has been created that people postulate theories…show more content…
Steinem then uses biological evidence to point out that females not males could theoretically be the sexual aggressor. In Steinems satire, she uses the fact that females are multiorgasmic ( and thus use to sexual pleasure) to back up the suggestion that it is women, not men, who dominated sexually. To further support her claim, Steinem jokingly suggests that it is the female ova that is dominant during fertilization because the ova exerts no energy. It is the males sperm that seeks out the ova, and then once the target is met, the sperm becomes enveloped. The male then has no control in the development of potential offspring, because it is the female body that does everything. Steinem satirically argues then that due to the lack of control a male has over sex and reproduction, it is the female who is both sexually and reproductively…show more content…
This penis envy derives from the Freudian thought the the phallic has both physical and sexual power that females don’t experience in society. This envy and desire for a penis manifests in a woman's desire to be close to men- and thus females want husbands and sons. In her essay, Steinem points to the womb as enviable anatomy, as it is through menstruation that a women can assert her superiority. Steinem states that menstruation can be seen as a powerful thing, as women can bleed without risk to personal health. Furthermore, menstruation connects women to nature in a way in which men could never be. women are in tune to the lunar cycle and tides due, and this gives them a power that extends further- to religion, math and science. These are all fields that men have dominated, but with the change in lens from menstruation be being detrimental to menstruation being powerful, it subverts the patriarchal paradigm in place. Steinems satire toys with the idea that anatomy gives you power, and in creating a matriarchal explanation for why the womb should be envied, Steinem conotes the idea that power based on gentialia is

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