Freud on Women: A Reader

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Author, Sigmund Freud, Author
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Author, Sigmund Freud, Author W. W. Norton & Company $25 (399p) ISBN 978-0-393-02822-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Freud held that women suffer from penis envy and hate their mothers for sending them into the world ``insufficiently equipped.'' He believed that women feel that their babies are a compensation for not having a penis. He also maintained that libido is ``masculine,'' that masturbation is harmful and that the girl who engages in clitoral self-stimulation is marked by a ``masculinity complex'' and strong bisexuality. Critics charge that Freud's bizarre notions demean women by positing feminity as failed masculinity. Wesleyan professor Young-Bruehl, biographer of Anna Freud and Hannah Arendt, insists that the critics are wrong. What the founder of psychoanalysis actually argued, she claims, is that feminity develops from an innate bisexuality that is universal in women (and in men). Her unconvincing introduction to this chronologically organized anthology of Freud's essays, case material and letters reads like apologia. (July)
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