On Being a Woman

What do women want???

Dr. Freud asked that question in the 20th Century. For that, we are grateful because prior to his analysis, women were not asked the question; they were only to accept the physical, social and cultural expectations of the day.

“Why do you do what you do? Why do you act and speak in this manner?” Let’s examine your thoughts and feelings in reference to your behaviors. To sit with Freud took many years and hours of communications along with many dollars. To look into the content of your dreams, your unconscious and bring this awareness to your consciousness took may analytical hours. So, thank you, Sigmund Freud, for asking. However, you were looking for the answer in the wrong direction, from men and not from women.

He based his theory on LIBIDO, the masculine libido, which implied action and activity as opposed to the feminine passivity of that time.

In 1996, The Journal of Psychological Science reached this conclusion: “There is nothing to be said scientifically or therapeutically to the advantage of the entire Freudian system or any of its component dogmas.”

Yet, his thinking and jargon are still mainstream in the 21st Century. As an example, I was in a restaurant in New York City where the head waiter was using a ruler to measure the distance between the silverware and the dinner plates. Someone waiting at the bar observed and remarked, “Oh, that’s so anal.” One of my students in my psychology class confirmed that it is done in most restaurants. “Anal” is a Freudian term referring to control and manipulation in relationships. Its origin is tied to the infancy stage of development when parents tried to toilet train the toddlers and were met with resistance. Now parents are educated to understand the maturation of their child’s biological system has to develop prior to toilet training. Most day care centers will accept a toddler who is not trained due to contemporary thinking. This would be a timely example of how current thinking has advanced from the previous century.

Another example of the changes in this century is how Freud referred to energy, known as the libido, sexual energy. However, this term was referred to the masculine energy as active and female energy as passive. He misunderstood female energy and often quoted as a woman’s desire for a penis, ‘penis envy.’ In all my many years of counseling, I never heard any woman wishing for a penis. What I did hear over and over again is a wish for the same professional opportunities afforded to men, the same financial considerations given to men in the workplace and a strong desire for paternity leave for men enabling them to share in family and household responsibilities.

And once again, thank you Sigmund for asking the question; now we are telling you what women want. In returning to his phallocentric views tied to femininity, he argued that the only true orgasm was from vaginal sex and that women who climax from clitoral stimulation were stuck at a latent phase of underdeveloped sexuality. Nonsense again. But we are grateful again that he posed the statement because now, woman are asserting their comments. We are proud to assert our intelligence as there are many scholars and innovators in science, medicine, politics, and technology. We are proud to assert our vim and vigor in competitive sports, both locally and globally. We are happy to be recognized for our creativity and innovation in the arts: music, dance and theater. And we are happy to be in love with men as partners as well as with women.

Part Two ( to be continued)

Girls, growing into womanhood