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Essay example - Sigmund Freud and Sexuality

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Journalism & Communication
Pages 6 (1506 words)
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist credited to have founded the discipline of psychoanalysis; his views and use of psychoanalysis in female analysis brought forward several theories about the female gender. …

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In one of Sigmund Freud lectures he talked about ‘ The Aetiology of Hysteria’, in this theory, Sigmund Freud used information that he had collected from 18 individuals where he concluded that sexual abuses in childhood days caused people to have Hysteria (Freud, Whiteside & Freud 2007 p87). This theory did not last for a long time and he withdrew it and formed another one, which attributed hysteria and other neuroses and illnesses to sexual fantasies. His knowledge about women in those times was very limited however, he contributed a lot as men of those times thought women do not to harbour any sexual desires leave alone acknowledging that sexual fantasies caused hysteria in women.
When Freud was writing these theories, the society’s attitude toward women was that classified them as a weaker sex and they were only important as parents and relatives, their main function was procreation (Bloom & Hobby 2009 p56),
Some critics of Sigmund Freud theories were his fellow psychoanalysts who did not support his theory of penis envy as a primary female reaction rather as a secondary reaction. Freud, refused to agree with them and insisted on penis envy as a primary female reaction, other psychoanalysts like Jacques Lacan, took up Freud’s theory and developed it in what he called the penisneid in the unconscious of women. Juliet Mitchell supported Freud’s idea of penis envy, in which man is not the basis, but on the phallus, this opened the field of phallogocentrism to debate (Tong, 2009 p15).
Feminists have also criticized Freud’s view where they have argued that penis envy and the whole idea of psychoanalysis uses assumptions are anti feminist, patriarchal and misogynistic that tend to display women as less and deformed men (Freud, 2007 p32).
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