Quotes of Interest Between Writers For The Developing Psychoanalyst To Ponder. And, Are Men Really From Mars, & Women From Venus? Or Are They Just Stuck On The Same Planet?

By Karen Barna

“Within the early writings of radical feminism, anger, rage, and even hatred of men was voiced, yet there was no meaningful attempt to offer ways to resolve these feelings, to imagine a culture of reconciliation where women and men might meet and find common ground. Militant feminism gave women permission to unleash their rage and hatred at men but it did not allow us to talk about what it meant to love men in patriarchal culture, to know how we could express that love without fear of exploitation and oppression.“ ~Bell Hooks, The Will To Change

Bruno Bettelhiem’s clinical observations of a group of children consisting of two boys and two girls, all of whom could be classified as schizoid, if not schizophrenic, mentally disturbed because they all were “less inhibited and more id motivated than normal children,” helped to bring to light the exposed notion of a suppressed reality in the symbolic wounds among the “rational“ groups of normal adults. “The children, a girl in particular, had an idea to create a secret society: Her plan was that members of the group, both boys and girls, should cut themselves once every moth and then mix their blood.” … the first girl expressed to her female counselor her great resentment of the fact that only girls had to bleed regularly, while boys went free. To her this was another proof of the persecution of women in general and to herself in particular. . . . Each of these boys stated repeatedly, independently of the other and to different persons, that he felt it was “a cheat” and “a gyp” that he did not have a vagina. They made remarks such as: “She thinks she is something special because she has a vagina,” or “Why can’t I have a vagina?” Mentioning the unhappiness of another boy, one of them said, “I know why he’s crying p it’s because he wants a vagina.” More persistent than the desire for female organs, however, was the obssessional wish to possess both male and female genitalia. They said, ‘Why can’t I have both?” Disappointed in this desire, and envious of women because women possessed what they considered the superior sex organs, both boys frequently expressed a wish to tear or cut out the vaginas of girls and women.” ~Bruno Bettelhiem, Symbolic Wounds

“A male child is given the bonus of escaping the Oedipal period because he has been endowed with a penis. This fact means that a tendency toward male chauvinism and the domination of women is born anew in each male human being very early in life. That sexist tendency is what neuroscientists call an implicit memory. It is not really experienced consciously; it is just experienced as reality. Female children, on the other hand, are denied this added bonus and since cannot escape the Oedipal period must suppress aggressive tendencies and feel powerless, and thus, be more passive in their behavior. . . . . We all, men and women, have an unconscious impulse to control and subordinate the female sex, and this is because our first object in this world is a powerful woman who can feed us or let us die. We all, men and women, have to find our own ways to subdue and contain this loved and hated figure, and boys and girls find different solutions to this universal problem. The male solution sets up a dualism, which destines men to think of self as subject and woman as object. This dualism gives men a strong sense of the right and wrong, a clear-headed, logical way of thinking, less tainted with the primitive emotions associated with the pre-Oedipal period, and a strong investment in the healthy phallic energy which built the Taj Mahal and invented the airplane [and forced some women to learn how to clean out own carbureator!].” ~Lucy Holmes, Wrestling with Destiny

“The bomb project is rife with images of male birth . . . This idea of male birth and its accompanying belittling of maternity – – – The denial of women’s role in the process of creation and the reduction of “motherhood” to the provision of nurturance – – – seems thoroughly incorporated into the nuclear mentality . . . In light of the imagery of male birth, the extraordinary names given to the bombs that reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ash and rubble – – – “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” – – – at last became intelligible. These ultimate destroyers were the progeny of the atomic scientists – – – and emphatically not just any progeny by male progeny. In early tests, before they were certain that the bomb would work, the scientists expressed their concern by saying they hoped the baby was a boy, not a girl – – – that is, not a dud . . . The entire history of the bomb project, in fact, seems permeated with imagery that confounds man’s overwhelming technological power to destroy nature with the power to create – – – imagery that inverts men’s destruction and asserts in its place the power to create a new life and a new world. It converts men’s destruction into their rebirth.” ~Carol Kohn, Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defence Intellectuals

“We live in a culture where emotionally starved, deprived females are desperately seeking male love. Our collective hunger is so intense it rends us. And yet we dare not speak it for fear we will be mocked, pitied, shamed. To speak our hunger for male love would demand that we name the intensity of our lack and our loss.” ~Bell Hooks, The Will To Change

“I think the reason that men are so very violent is that they know, deep in themselves, that they’re acting out a lie, and so they’re furious at being caught up in the lie. But they don’t know how to break it….They’re in a rage because they are acting out a lie – which means that in some deep part of themselves they want to be delivered from it, [and] are homesick for the truth.” ~Barbara Deming

A quote to consider when dealing with the denial of homosexual tendencies in the Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender community and how important it is to free the libido so one my be able to expresses their sexuality. . . . “If we cannot heal what we cannot feel, by supporting patriarchal culture that socializes men to deny feelings, we doom them to live in states of emotional numbness. We construct a culture where male pain can have no voice, where male hurt cannot be named or healed.” ~Bell Hooks, The Will To Change

This quote holds profound truth in particular to the psychoanalytic community who have a tendency to bias their work because of their failure to be completely objective in rendering their opinions. Even Freud recognized this very real human proclivity and commented on the dangers of doing so . . . . . “Freud . . . [writing about castration anxiety in Western culture] referred to it specifically as “One of the Difficulties of Psychoanalysis” alludes to our resistance against realizations that endanger our self-love. . . . “ ~Bruno Bettelhiem, Symbolic Wounds

“Can knowledge save us from malevolent destiny? If we can be courageous enough to confront what we don’t know, or more importantly, what we don’t want to know, [or more importantly what we refuse to see], can we win control over our own destiny?……destiny is real. Though we call it by the name of the repetition compulsion, we believe that there is a dark power in every human being that unchecked can propel a person, against their will, to a tragic end. Though we design our own destinies with our repetitions, the true architect of our fate is the unconscious………” ~Lucy Holmes, Wrestling With Destiny

Can you make the connections between these quotes? What is missing from our culture, or more importantly, what could enrich our culture by making the lives of men and women seem equal in terms of psychoanalytic awareness? That is to say, that regardless of their sex, gender identity, ethnicity, or religion we are all the same? How do we validate that?


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