Self-made




Separate      -           Connected
Future         -           Past
New            -           Old
Open           -           Closed




As with some later feminist criticisms of Freud, Horney attempted to retrieve female sexuality, and by extension a valid form of feminine existence, by appealing to a genuinely independent nature and holding culture culpable for women's subordinate status.

Beauvoir's misgivings about Freud's account of femininity stem from two sources, a feminist suspicion that women, in psychoanalytic discourse, are understood on the basis of a masculine model, and an existentialist conviction that human beings are self-defining, choosing themselves through their own actions. Following her existentialist convictions, Beauvoir insists that even when women abdicate their freedom, they do so as agents responsible for their own destinies, not merely as passive victims following a developmentally determined fate.

Following her feminist convictions, Beauvoir recognizes that women's choices may be constrained by powerful social and bodily forces, but insists that women nonetheless bear ultimate responsibility for realizing their own possibilities by emancipating themselves.

Nonetheless, Beauvoir's dispute with Freud appears to be less about whether constraint is part of our being in the world, and more about where that constraint is located: psychoanalysis locates constraint internally, in the constitution of the psyche itself, not only in the situations of social life, whereas Beauvoir locates it externally, in the cultural forces that impact even the most intimate sense of our own agency.

Beauvoir thus claims that her own interpretations of women's femininity will disclose women in their liberty, oriented freely by the future and not simply explained by a past. She thereby ratifies the promise of existentialism for feminism.

Irigaray seeks to create a representation for women that would not be a designation of what she is, defining her by and holding her to some concrete essence, but would allow her to exist on her own terms and speak for herself.

The erasure of sexual difference enables a metaphysics of substance in which sexual identity is a matter of fixed and pre-determined being, of underlying essences or common properties, rather than a form of becoming and self-generation.

[Emily Zakin]
‘Psychoanalytic Feminism’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy



Related posts: