Women’s PsychologyJune 27, 2021
Karen Horney stated her thoughts on women’s psychology by criticizing Freud’s thoughts on women.
Freud believed that the masculine traits found in women or the feminine traits in men stemmed from the bisexual tendency. For her, the most important event in the development of girls was the discovery that girls did not have a penis. Evidence for this was that girls expressed their wishes to have a penis, exhibited masculine behaviors before puberty, and adult women saw the penis and its symbols in their dreams. According to Horney, this was not sufficient evidence; In women, the desire to have a penis could be replaced by having breasts, exhibiting masculine behaviors might be valued in the culture, and the symbols in dreams could be characteristic of neurotic men as well as neurotic women (Budak, S., trans., 1994).
Horney responded to Freud’s contempt for penis envy with the concept of womb envy. uterine envy; It is the envy caused by the absence of the sacred childbearing ability of women in men. According to Horney, both men and women have characteristics that are admired by the other party. However, men try to balance this situation by being successful in other areas due to their lack of childbearing ability (Burger, 2006, ch. 5). In addition, Freud says that there is a secret relationship between femininity and masochism, and that the basic fear in women is the fear of losing love. He argues that this fear corresponds to the fear of castration (castration) in men. According to Karen Horney (1994), “fear of losing love is a distinctive masochistic trait to the extent that masochistic tendencies imply emotional dependence on others, and in masochism the main way to find reassurance against anxiety is to gain compassion” (p. 95).
According to him, masochism is a result of conflicts between individuals, it is not specific to women. It is important whether there are masochistic tendencies based on that culture in women affected by a culture. In some cultures, there are realistic reasons for women to value love and fear losing it more than men (Budak, S., trans., 1994). In addition, this cultural influence and accompanying environmental influences influenced Freud’s observations and writings, causing him to see women as second-class people. If a woman in Freud’s day wished to be a man, it was because of the constraints imposed by culture. In a free society individuals can be content with their own characteristics.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook