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Hayward, E.P. (1943). Types of Female Castration Reaction. Psychoanal Q., 12:45-66.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:45-66

Types of Female Castration Reaction

Emeline P. Hayward


Women who have oriented their lives around penis envy fall into two main groups, called by Abraham the 'wish-fulfilment' type and the 'revengeful' type. For such distinctly different sets of characteristics to arise from an apparently similar nucleus, one must hypothesize different developmental influences. The hypothesis is suggested that the little girl who falls prey to penis envy in the anal-sadistic stage is the one who develops into the revengeful type of woman. This is frequently encountered in cases where a little girl has been raised with a brother who is nearly her own age. The child is faced with the evidence of an anatomical difference between herself and the boy and is disturbed in a characteristic way by her seeming defect. The wish-fulfilment type of woman became preoccupied with penis envy after she had reached the phallic level. Such women had no brothers close to their own age.

The revengeful type of woman lives a barren existence, all her potentialities being directed towards revenging herself on the world for her defect. The wish-fulfilment type of woman, on the other hand, has acquired a penis equivalent which frees her to use her intellectual potentialities in a constructive manner.

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