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Lecture 3

PSY323H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Penis Envy, Electra Complex, Oedipus Complex


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY323H1
Professor
Noreen Stuckless
Lecture
3

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LECTURE 3:
Theoretical Perspectives:
What is a theory? Seeing a situation and asking why!
Why is it important to know the theory? Theories influence how people
are treated, and it has implications.
Theoretical perspectives on gender identification. For example,
psychoanalytic theories (i.e.: Freud’s theories) and their impact on
women & men.
Important: for the purposes of this course we aren’t discussing the
validity but rather the implications of theories.
Perceptions of women, theories,
Why?
Psychoanalytic/identification
Evolutionary
Social structural cultural
Biosocial Model
How?
Social learning
Cognitive development
Gender schemas
Social interactional theories
Perceptions of Women:
Equal vs Unequal

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Ancient writings: biblical writings. So, in the bible man and woman who
were equal were actually mentioned before Adam and eve who are
unequal (eve comes from Adam).
Early on there were not only male but female philosophers held in very
high standing but as time went on that stopped and male philosophers
did not honor female philosophers. In the bible between the old & new
testament there were women bishops but by the new testaments that
was gone and women were perceived as inferior.
So, this begs the question. Why did we go from equal to unequal?
Philosophers started saying women are just defective men (penis did not
grow)
Others started saying men and women are opposites to each other but
each is positive. However, what was considered positive for men was
valued higher than what was considered positive for women.
Canadian history: very first women who came into North America
(Ontario) were nuns who had their own society, hunting, farming, etc.
they were completely autonomous until that was stopped and they were
put under male authority. There was an original time in Ontario when
women could vote & own land.
Psychodynamic/Identification: theories center around whether person
identifies with mum or dad and its psychodynamic because its
psychological/happens in brain. We do not study this because it is valid
however we study it because of the implications it has for men and
women. Freud’s theories were built on patients but generalized to
everyone else. He was very focused on the unconscious and now there is
pretty much no one who 100% believes in this.
Freud: ID, ego, superego. ID I want this, ego, now you can’t have,
superego is the morality. He had a very negative view of women.
Thought they were less intelligent and less moral than men. He thought
they had one purpose in life which is reproduction/family maintance. So,
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since they had only one role they should not go to university, study, etc.
and were thus less intelligent. The idea of being less moral came from
this. Men when they were born according to Freud identify with their
mother and love her (sexually). And then they realize that their father
will castrate them if he learns of this, and so they begin to identify with
their father. And this creates a battle between the id and ego which
leads to this processes of identifying with dad instead of men. And
because this was such a strong battle men develop a strong superego
which is now known as the Oedipus Complex. This strong superego is
responsible for morality. According to him women began to identify with
the mother and then had strong feelings towards the father (have
negative attitudes towards women) but their battle between the id and
ego was much easier (check textbook) so they ended up with a weak
superego. Within this battle you get concepts such as a penis envy, etc.
This is called the Electra complex (the term does not come from Freud).
The result of theories like this is the inferiority of women in society.
Some of this carried on into the 20th century. The result for men was
they carried the responsibility (epsc: the financial).
A major problem with Freud’s theory: his sample size was 1 for his
theory. A man who came to see Freud because his son was afraid of
horses. Also the lack of falsifiability for his theories.
Disagreement: NeoFreudians. They all still thought development in
children was a product of identification with mother/father and they still
believed in the role of unconscious.
One famous one was Karen Horney: one key difference is that whether
Freud based everyone on the penis (phallic) she thought everything was
gynocentric (the womb). And again, she was still just generalizing from
patients. She thought that identification with the mother was the basis
of psyche. She believed that the men had womb envy. And she said that
because of this she saw a male sense of inferiority which was due to this
lack of ability to carry children. She thought that women on the other
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