In this book a group of contemporary psychoanalytic authors dedicated to studies on women and the feminine have been assembled with the objective of displaying points of concordance and discordance in relation to Freudian proposals.
Discourse on women has changed greatly since Freud's time. It coincides with deep changes experienced by women and the feminine position, at least in most of the Western world. It is common knowledge that contraceptives, assisted fertilization, advances in women's rights, growingly evident sublimational capacities and demonstrations of professional success have definitely changed ideas regarding an eternal and immutable feminine nature. The authors are interested in illuminating ways in which these changes have or have not influenced psychoanalytic debate in relation to the feminine. This implies renewing the question of what is authentically feminine and whether there is any essential truth concerning the feminine.
They select as a starting point: "Femininity", the thirty-third lecture of the New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1933 ), a paper in which Freud reflects, and at the same time expands, ideas developed in previous texts which state his concepts on femininity.
'Glocer Fiorini and Abelin-Sas Rose are to be much applauded for gathering here a prestigious cadre of authors who bring astute thinking to bear on our understanding of women. Starting with Freud’s 1933 classic, "Femininity" - the stimulus to years of psychoanalytic controversy - each contributor poses questions to Freud’s "answers", thereby teasing apart notions tightly woven into the fabric of psychoanalytic thought. Released from the corset of traditional thinking, contributors explore the shape, and shaping, of the female subject and the subjectively feminine.
Impressive scholarship and clinical sophistication reflect a nuanced sensitivity to the multiplicity of experiences of the feminine dimension in women, and in men as well. Appreciation for the complexity of the cultural surround is heightened by the inclusion of authors from a number of different countries. This plurality of voices in richly varied languages will greatly intrigue anyone interested in the "riddle" of femininity.'
- Dianne Elise, PhD, Associate Editor, Studies in Gender and Sexuality
'A collection of fascinating essays on many critical issues regarding femininity from a variety of perspectives. They consider classic as well as contemporary issues, in the context of changes in psychoanalytic theory, society, and culture. Unsettled controversies on female masochism and penis envy are revisited. But the essays confirm that there is much more to a woman’s destiny than her anatomy and physiology, addressing the role of object relations, culture, and education on the development and expression of femininity. The relationship of attitudes towards motherhood to instinctual drives and female sexuality is explored in a cultural context in which many women elect not to have children.
Psychoanalytic views on non-traditional family patterns, such as single mother and homosexual couples with biological or adopted children invoke issues that were never envisioned in the earlier psychoanalytic literature. Bisexuality as an essential component of analytic work supersedes the narrow proposition of the “bedrock” repudiation of femininity in the male. Not disregarding universal aspects of femininity, such as periodicity, the editors emphasise the unique qualities of each woman; the creativity of women is highlighted rather than their limitations.
The scope and depth of the individual essays, their stimulating cross-currents, and the balanced views and reviews engage controversy without polemics. The book is a valuable set of contributions to its timeless topic. It is highly recommended for very rewarding analytic reading and reflection.'
- Harold P. Blum, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, former editor, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Notes about the author(s):
Leticia Glocer Fiorini is a training psychoanalyst of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association. She is the author of The Feminine and the Complex Thought (Lugar Editorial, 2001), editor of The Other in the Intersubjective Field (APA-Lugar Editorial, 2004) and Time, History and Structure. A Psychoanalytical Approach (APA-Lugar Editorial, 2006). Among other contributions in psychoanalytic journals concerning feminine sexuality she published: ‘The enigma of the sexual difference’ in Feminine Scenarios”(Lumen, 2000), ‘Assisted fertilization, new problems’ in Prevention in Mental Health (Lugar Editorial, 2002), ‘The sexed body and the real, its meaning in transsexualism’ in Masculine Scenarios (Karnac, 2003), ‘Psychoanalysis and Gender, Convergences and Divergences’ in Psychoanalysis and Gender Relations (Lumen, 2004) and ‘The bodies of present-day maternity’ in Motherhood in the Twenty-first Century (Karnac, 2006).
Graciela Abelin-Sas Rose is a member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine. For the last twenty-six years, she has been a member of CAPS (Center for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis). She was the founder and Chairperson of this Institute’s Colloquium with Visiting Authors, where analysts from all over the world, with different perspectives in psychoanalysis, would join us to discuss their points of view.