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Greenacre, P. (1960). Woman as Artist. Psychoanal Q., 29:208-227.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:208-227

Woman as Artist

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.

SUMMARY

It appears that in general fewer women than men realize substantial artistic creative talent. This paper limits itself to a consideration of early genetic factors, which may restrict the female's later development of adequate capacity for externalization of artistic creativity. It does not seek to examine evidence of differences between the two sexes in intrinsic creative potentialities; nor does it deal at all with special neurotic interferences in the creative process. Differences in anatomical structure between the sexes which tend to make for a lesser degree of precise externalization seem to contribute to the lesser artistic productivity of women. The obligatory differences in attitude toward their own genitals pattern different attitudes toward, and content of, the fantasy involved in artistic creativity. In girls, fantasy is much more concerned with emotional and personal relationships and less with impersonal or abstract constructions than in boys. Girls appear to be more readily blocked in materializing artistic creativity than boys, both through the nature of the castration complex and the special exigencies of the Oedipal conflict. In specially talented girls, both areas of conflict are hazardous due fundamentally to the increased bisexual elements among creative individuals.

The author wishes to express again a debt of gratitude to the late Ernst Kris, whose papers published in Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art have contributed very substantially to the interest and understanding of the material of this and allied papers.

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