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Caputo, L. (2017). Gender and Politics in the Dollhouse. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):385-387.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):385-387

Gender and Politics in the Dollhouse

Lorraine Caputo, L.C.S.W.

Dollhouses are a wonderful and magical creative vehicle and especially so in the therapy office. Mine is no exception. This year during the 2016 presidential election, the dollhouse was alive with many themes that I had never witnessed before.

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Tatiana, a 7-year-old girl, in treatment with me for angry outbursts, has explored the dollhouse world with a great deal of energy and imagination. One of the dolls once threw a toy toilet at another doll. The following week, Tatiana asked me very seriously and pointedly, “You know I would never really throw a toilet, right?” I said, “Of course, I know, but this is the place to express your anger through the dolls and dollhouse. A toilet shows a lot of anger, right?” We got back to work, but I thought about her question then and now: Were we really going to be out of control in our play? Would we know the difference between play and reality, symbol and action? Would I judge her for expressing her feelings and take them out of context? Would I understand that she knew what she was doing? There were many questions to explore with her and for her to explore with me.

As the presidential campaign waged in the “outside world,” Tatiana began to play with the dollhouse. She informed me that Hillary Clinton was the mother in this house. As the session went on, Tatiana played out more themes of sadism and aggression in the interaction between two young friends. Tatiana’s main character, Sunrise,

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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