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Lax, R.F. (1995). Freud's Views and the Changing Perspective on Femaleness and Femininity: What My Female Analysands Taught Me. Psychoanal. Psychol., 12(3):393-406.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12(3):393-406

Freud's Views and the Changing Perspective on Femaleness and Femininity: What My Female Analysands Taught Me

Ruth F. Lax, Ph.D., ABPP

In this article, I critically examine Freud's views on female psychosexual development and femininity. The effect of Freud's patriarchal bias on the manner in which his followers analyzed women and the goals they set for the analysis of women are shown via vignettes.

Throughout the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, feminism forced a reexamination of previously accepted Freudian postulates from without and within the psychoanalytic establishment. Thus, to the extent to which countertransference permits it, women began to be listened to during their analyses rather than old how it is and should be. The importance of analyzing the pathological conformity to gender stereotypes and to gender mythologies is stressed, because these determine not only the external realities in which women and men live but also the content and shape of the psychic world of each gender. The object relations and social relations introjected by the infant psyche of the girl give rise to her infantile “mythologies” in which the male child is superior to the female. The reverse is true for the male child. Vignettes illustrate technical suggestions applicable to the analysis of women. New findings are discussed.

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