Anatomy is Destiny

The Problem of Freud’s Sexism
  • Helen Block Lewis
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


In many ways, Freud’s views on the personality differences implicit in being a man or a woman illuminate the political basis and the political implications of psychological views on human nature. To the extent that Freud saw human nature as sexually repressed by civilization, his work tended toward the liberation of both sexes from their culturally stereotyped sex roles. However, he embedded his clinical observations about sexual repression and resulting neurosis in a scientific framework of instinct theory. The instinct theory that he devised, though progressive in the sense that it was materialist, could also be used as an implicit justification for domination, specifically for domination by men over women. These issues are still being hotly debated today in discussions of social Darwinism (see, e.g., Tobach & Rosoff, 1978).


Gender Identity Maternal Deprivation Psychosexual Development Castration Complex Obsessional Neurosis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Block Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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