Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Polymorphously Perverse: Tangling with Dr. Freud

I'm currently working on an essay about psychoanalysis and lesbianism for the degree. And obviously, when you deal with psychoanalysis, you have to deal with Freud. That well-known genius, failed doctor, misogynist, cocaine addict, cigar smoker and/ or sex pervert (choose your myth according to your preference).

I described him on Facebook as resembling a blindfolded man with a bow and arrow. "With one shot he hits the bullseye," I wrote, "and with the next shot he kills your neighbour's dog."

There is a surprisingly wide range of views about his work in literary circles, thanks, it seems, to the development of his theories by French obscurantist Jacques Lacan. And some of it, to be fair, makes sense. There is still the thorny problem, however, of the other bits.

What Freud was concerned with was children’s responses to their discovery of physical differences between the sexes. Briefly, he argues that a boy, seeing that girls lack a penis, thinks they have been castrated and fears that this will happen to him as punishment for desiring his mother and his rivalry with his father. This leads him to resolve his oedipal complex (his desire for his mother and hatred of his father) by giving up his desire for his mother. A girl on the other hand, seeing the penis, is overcome with envy, feels she is castrated, blames her mother for this condition and therefore turns away from her mother towards her father - Stevi Jackson.

That isn't how it was at all, not for me anyway. I wasn't remotely convinced the first naked woman I saw had been castrated. I was smarter than that even before I began to talk. What I recall was an interest from a very early age in the mysteries of what the girl or woman concealed. The space between the the legs of the female was something compelling and interesting because I didn't know what was there.

I was never afraid of being castrated either. How could somebody who has never had any experience of violence conceive of the forced removal of his genitals?

It's just nonsense. Complete and utter. I don't know how anybody could ever have been dumb enough to believe it. But hey, what do I know? I'm just an invisible, penniless blogger whose work will be forgotten by the few people who were ever aware of it. Freud changed the world.


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