39 Freud was Wrong: Psychologist Burned by Local Feminism(s)

Paige Schoppmann

Within this reading, it was proved that Freud definitively had ideals that were problematic as well as thoughtless. This reading completely shows the notion of the 2 feminisms that were present in that time period, how Freud was important, and how all of that ties in together.

Essentialist feminism is more closely related to the feminists that make the rest of us look bad. They are the feminists that are quite frankly stating that women should be able to stay inferior to their superior men. They believed that gender roles were psychological as well as biological, and can therefore, never be changed. The essentialists were the feminists that said “Wait, hold up… Freud was a misogynistic turdblossom, BUT he did have some good points!” Spoiler alert: he did not have good points.


Quick outline of what I perceive essentialist feminism to be: like if you go to a family holiday dinner/gathering, and you’re explaining that you want to bridge the gap of unequal gender pay. Your uncle responds with stating that there’s nothing unequal about how we treat our people, and that maybe women don’t get paid higher because they don’t go for the higher-paid positions.

Overall, essentialist feminism is “more inclined to the idea that gender reflects a natural difference between men and women that is as much psychological, even linguistic, as it is biological” (766-7). The essentialists also believe that men need to dissociate themselves from their mothers very early on, so that they can “get a ticket into the patriarchy,” and distance themselves from the natural, motherly nature that comes with being connected to your mother. (Aka: “Freud was KINDA right’ #OedipusComplex?)


Constructivist feminism approaches feminism very differently than the essentialist feminism. They see gender as a man made construct, that “is made by culture in history,” and is therefore “no less a construction of patriarchal culture than the idea that men are somehow superior to women; both are born at the same time and with the same stroke of the pen” (767-8). These feminists critiqued Freud as well, stating some of his most obvious mistakes are regarding women.


What do I perceive constructivist feminism to be: All of those strong female characters that push the boundaries of what it means to be a woman in our society, and how women can do anything men can do (especially in superhero films). I also remember the young women going through life and proving their worth and stability in what being a woman can, and does, mean. The revolt of today: women demanding the respect that they deserve, and men not knowing what to do about the situation.

Overall, constructivist feminism is definitely more aware of the ideals of a woman being her own person without her husband or partner. Gender is manmade, and therefore unimportant. Women and men can intermingle and switch gender roles, and learn what it is to be a society without gender stereotypes. Constructivist feminism also discusses the “mothering” factor of the relationship between men and women. They don’t think that children have to dissociate from their parents, because there’s more to them than their relationship with their parents.

Constructivist feminism is the notion of gender being a manmade construct in order to potentially divide us further. There is so many other things to women, and therefore, that begins to be shown during constructivist feminism.


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Paige Schoppmann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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