Issues in the Psychology of Women by Maryka Biaggio (Editor), Michel Hersen (Editor)

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By Maryka Biaggio (Editor), Michel Hersen (Editor)

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Nonetheless, she hopes to regain the phallus by turning her attention to the father. Freud hypothesized that young girls believed they could regain the phallus—and the concomitant superiority that it represented—through impregnation and birth (particularly of a male child). When the girl child realizes that the father will not accede to this desire and that the mother is a barrier to this outcome and most likely responsible for the girl’s castration, she abandons her desires for her father. Freud believed that the girl’s abandonment of the desire for the phallus and her subsequent ambivalent relationship with the mother causes her to have a less well developed sense of morality, or superego.

Collaboration with essentialist interpretations of gender might, if inadvertently, contribute to a recreation of earlier understandings of gender, with women deemed not different and equal but, once again, deficient. (p. 36) Bohan (1997) also argued that considering qualities associated with women to be essential encourages individual responsibility and change, indeed promotes victim-blaming in that the very qualities that are supposed to “belong”to women may be viewed as contributing to their oppression.

38). Social Constructionism A social constructionist view of women and gender has the potential to resolve the foregoing dilemma. The basic underpinnings of social constructionism include the beliefs that: (1) there is no way to know the nature of reality or truth; (2) reality is constructed, not discovered; (3) reality is inextricably intertwined with social context; (4) knowledge is constructed by discourse (language) in social interchange; and (5) what we agree to call reality is mutually constructed and agreed upon (Bohan, 1997).

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