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Green, A. (1972). Aggression, Femininity, Paranoia and Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:205-211.

(1972). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53:205-211

Aggression, Femininity, Paranoia and Reality

André Green

According to Freud, aggression is the outward expression of the destructive instincts. Theoretically speaking, aggression makes no distinction between the sexes. Nevertheless, its nature and function lead us to question its specific expression in female sexuality. In contradistinction to the male, the integration of aggression in feminine identification seems less obvious.

In man, masculine identification calls for aggression, both in carrying out the sexual function and in the many activities involving aim-inhibited drives and displacements, especially social ones, such as professional competition, sports, games, as well as the tragic game of war. Of course, social changes are bringing increasingly larger numbers of women to share such activities with men, from infancy on. The opening to women of social activities that used to be reserved for men has led to an attenuation, in its social aspects, of the difference between the sexes. However, we wish to stress that such an attenuation is, to a large extent, superficial. Freud's opinion (1937p. 250) that what is repudiated in both sexes is femininity may be aptly recalled at this point.

From this viewpoint, what becomes of woman's aggressive drives? The question may be examined from two angles: (1) the antagonism between erotic and destructive drives, and (2) the antinomy of identifications reflecting sexual difference.

How can women integrate their aggressive drives when their libidinal development does not facilitate discharge and displacement? What happens in those cases where successful integration is blocked (Freud, 1933, p.

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