Feminine Psychology

Feminine psychology is the psychology of the female of the human species and it includes the study of the gender related “female human identity” as well as the psychological interpretations of the issues that females confront during their life time. Psic√≥loga Curitiba

Gender studies help us to understand and make a distinction of the natural biological gender differences and gender differences that have been created based on the gender roles established by the society from time to time. Further gender studies also help us to understand the gender bias that exists in the society.

Feminine psychology is also involved in highlighting the gender bias that existed in traditional psychological theories and offers alternative theories to counter those biases and propagate new thinking. Work related to hysteria and neurosis is particularly important in this regard.

Feminine psychology: “Penis envy”

There was a time when it was a widely accepted belief that women were in fact “imperfect men” and their imperfectness arouse from their sexual inadequacies. It was believed that women wanted to do everything like men because of this sexual inadequacy that can be more explicitly said as the jealousy of not having the “penis”. The irony of the whole thing is that this thinking came from one of the brilliant minds of the 19th century i.e. Sigmund Freud who is the father of the psychoanalytic movement. He coined the term “penis envy” for what he called as the sexual inadequacy in women which manifested in all her thinking and doings. It was even postulated that women became hysteric and neurotic when their desire to be like men could not be fulfilled. He said that women where envious for all that men stood for and this envy starts sexually in the childhood when a female sees that she is devoid of a penis which her brother has. For more than 150 years this theory was accepted without any major questioning and women suffered a lot because of this thinking that spread in the society as a norm.

Feminine psychology: The theory of “Penis envy” and the challenge to the theory

It was only in the early and later part of the 20th century that this belief was challenged adequately by some brilliant women psychoanalysts and psychologists. They challenged Freud’s theory by strongly advocating the fact that Freud was actually a prisoner of his culture and times and what he said and interpreted was based on the social conditions of his times. In the 19th century Victorian culture women were living a very discriminated and marginalized life and had lot of restrictions that were heaped on them. In this kind of scenario whenever women got frustrated and tried to challenge the system they were rebuffed strongly and they were ridiculed for trying to “imitate men”. This phenomenon was called as “penis envy” and all their emotions and feelings were rubbished as neurotic behaviour which was thought to be naturally associated to them.

Feminine psychology: Wandering uterus

We would not believe it today but it is a fact that all the diseases of the women were in fact thought to originate from her uterus and it was said that women had a wandering uterus. Subsequently it was proven medically that all that talk of “wandering uterus” was a big rubbish.

Feminine psychology: Work of Karen Horny

Women Psychoanalysts such as Karen Horny did excellent work to show that medical conditions like neurosis in women was necessarily not of sexual in origin but was triggered by the external environment of a individual and the coping mechanism employed be the individual to manage it. She went on to say that neurosis was a common condition that existed in all human beings in various degrees. It is in fact a condition that is part of an individual who is trying to live his or her life. In other words we all have a neurotic corner in us. It only becomes a full blown medical condition when the external conditions overwhelm our individual self and our coping mechanisms completely fail to manage it.

Further Karen Horny hit hard on the theory of “penis envy’ by postulating a counter theory called as the “womb envy”. According to this theory men in fact felt inadequate about themselves because of their lack of “natural creative abilities” as seen in women who is bestowed by the nature to create life. This might be the reason why men run around the world trying to be creative and generative.