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Men and Masculinity

Other Psychoanalysts

Other psychoanalysts contributed to the argument about femininity and masculinity, though none gave the issue so central a place. Karen Horney (1885–1952) pointed to the importance of "the dread of woman," originating in fear of the mother, in the depth psychology of men. Carl Jung (1875–1961) speculated in The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious that masculinity and femininity functioned as opposites within personality, in a kind of balance: "The repression of feminine traits and inclinations causes these contrasexual demands to accumulate in the unconscious" (p. 187). This idea, filtered through Jung's later theory of archetypes, resurfaced in the 1980s and became the key theme of a popular therapeutic movement in the United States.

After the 1920s, psychoanalysis moved far to the right on most issues, and discussion of the theory of gender was no exception. When psychoanalysts became popular writers on gender issues in the 1950s, their message identified mental health with gender orthodoxy. The course toward adult heterosexuality, which Freud had seen as a complex and fragile construction, was increasingly presented as a nonproblematic, natural path of development. Anything else was seen as a sign of pathology, especially homosexuality, which was declared inherently pathological, the product of disturbed parent–child relationships. Psychoanalysis as a practice became increasingly a technique of normalization and attempted to adjust its patients to the existing gender order—as is shown in Kenneth Lewes's excellent history of psychoanalytic ideas about male homosexuality. It was only after the impact of feminism in the 1970s that the critical potential in psychoanalytic ideas about gender was rediscovered.

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