That Old Black Magic of Femininity

Then and Now
  • Leanne Domash


The unconscious source of tension between the sexes has long been a subject of fascination and concern. This essay will explore the lure of femininity, the “black magic” power of it, to help explain what can still be called the battle between the sexes. We can think of it as an envy war. Each sex symbolizes a force the other craves. In this essay, we will focus on the male’s conflict based on a wish for, and fear of, merger. However, there are reciprocal feelings in the female toward the male concerning power. These will also be discussed later in the essay. Early mother-son interactions that contribute to the adult male’s ambivalence will be detailed. Our hope is that by making these, at times, nearly invisible conflicts visible, we can lessen the schism that still exists. Also, while there have been many recent societal advances in greater equality between the sexes, it is felt that attention to these unconscious factors may facilitate greater, more permanent change.


Gender Identity Hostile Intent Sexual Excitement Beth Israel Medical Black Magic 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leanne Domash
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Beth Israel Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Mount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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