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Ticho, G.R. (1976). Female Autonomy And Young Adult Women. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 24S(Supplement):139-155.

(1976). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24S(Supplement):139-155

Female Autonomy And Young Adult Women

Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D.

BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR , it was extremely rare for a young woman to leave the parental home in order to live by herself. A girl left home only when she married or, in the lower socioeconomic classes, if she went to work, which usually meant going into service. In either case, when a girl left home she moved from one authoritative and protective structure — the family — to another — marriage or employment in a paternalistic setting. The situation changed slowly between the two wars and became the rule rather than the exception only during the last 30 years. An examination of the psychological stresses resulting from this change in social mores can, it seems to me, contribute to a better understanding of female development.

Freud's theory of female psychosexual development, conceived when it was most unusual for a girl in her late teens or early twenties to be living on her own, was decisively influenced by the overriding importance he attributed to the castration complex. Although he made several revisions of his views, such as the significance of preoedipal development and the importance of the mother, his stand regarding the castration complex remained unchanged. It is thus not surprising to find him questioning those who

regard the two sexes as completely equal in position and worth

(1925p. 258).

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