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Horney, K. (1926). The Flight from Womanhood: The Masculinity-Complex in Women, as Viewed by Men and by Women. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:324-339.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:324-339

The Flight from Womanhood: The Masculinity-Complex in Women, as Viewed by Men and by Women

Karen Horney

In some of his latest works Freud has drawn attention with increasing urgency to a certain one-sidedness in our analytical researches. I refer to the fact that till quite recently the mind of boys and men only was taken as the object of investigation.

The reason of this is obvious. Psycho-analysis is the creation of a male genius, and almost all those who have developed his ideas have been men. It is only right and reasonable that they should evolve more easily a masculine psychology and understand more of the development of men than of women.

A momentous step towards the understanding of the specifically feminine was made by Freud himself in discovering the existence of penis-envy, and soon after the work of van Ophuijsen and Abraham shewed how large a part this factor plays in the development of women and in the formation of their neuroses. The significance of penisenvy has been extended quite recently by the hypothesis of the 'phallic phase'. By this we mean that in the infantile genital organization in both sexes only one genital organ, namely the male, plays any part, and that it is just this which distinguishes the infantile organization from the final genital organization of the adult. According to this theory, the clitoris is conceived of as a phallus, and we assume that little girls as well as boys attach to the clitoris in the first instance exactly the same value as to the penis.

The effect of this phase is partly to inhibit and partly to promote the subsequent development. Helene Deutsch has demonstrated principally the inhibiting effects. She is of opinion that, at the beginning of every new sexual function (e.g.

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