Psychoanalysis and Feminism

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Psychoanalysis and Feminism

  1. 1. Psychoanalysis and Feminism
  2. 2. Psychoanalysis <ul><li>Freud (founder of psychoanalysis) </li></ul><ul><li>Psychoanalysis has had huge cultural influence (especially on film and literature) </li></ul><ul><li>Even though psychologists dispute the scientific validity of Freud’s findings for treating / understanding real people, they may still apply to works of art. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Oedipus Complex <ul><li>Male child experiences libidinal attraction to mother </li></ul><ul><li>Male child sees mother’s lack of penis as “castration” </li></ul><ul><li>Male child worries father will castrate him because of his desire for mother. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Oedipus Complex II <ul><li>Male child later comes to identify with the father’s power and to transfer his sexual attraction to other female objects of desire. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls follow same pattern except they experience penis envy rather than castration anxiety and they transfer their sexual desire for the mother on to other men. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Fetish <ul><li>Sometimes male child is overcome with castration anxiety and fails to turn attraction to mother to other women. Instead, the male turns his libidinal investment to fetish objects (hair, clothing, feet etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Scopophilia (pleasure in looking)--can be a kind of fetish if it supplants the actual sexual act. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Mirror Stage (Lacan) <ul><li>Baby recognizes itself (develops individuated identity) by looking in a mirror. </li></ul><ul><li>Our sense of self is ultimately dependent upon our sense of the “other” </li></ul><ul><li>Our identity is determined by being both subject and object of the gaze. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Feminism and Psychoanalysis? <ul><li>Freud’s and Lacan’s theory is profoundly sexist (privileging heterosexual male point of view) </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, some feminists see psychoanalysis as useful because it reveals how a patriarchal (sexist) society oppresses women (and thus how we might resist it). </li></ul>
  8. 8. Laura Mulvey: Male Gaze <ul><li>Camera often takes male point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Cinema is all about male scopophilia (voyeurism) </li></ul><ul><li>Cinema forces spectators to identify with the male looker and see the woman into a powerless, fetishized object. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Feminism Beyond Mulvey… <ul><li>Questions the idea that spectators have no choice but to identify with heterosexual male gaze. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggests that spectators can resist dominant meanings (blending pleasure and critique) </li></ul><ul><li>Explores how gender identity intersects with race, class, sexuality and disability (and how spectatorship is cultural). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Feminism Beyond Mulvey II <ul><li>Emphasizes how cinema teaches us how to perform gender roles (how to act masculine or feminine) </li></ul><ul><li>Considers films / videos as products of their time (rather than as playing out universal psychological themes) </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzes how the context of online video viewing may make us rethink theories of spectatorship. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Social Construction of Gender <ul><li>Sex (biological differences) vs. gender (cutlural meanings assigned to sex difference) </li></ul><ul><li>Our understanding of gender is influenced by the culture in which we live. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender is a peformance (of sometimes unconscious, repeated behaviors) </li></ul>

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