Betty Friedan

“It is recognised now that Freud never gave proper attention, even in man, to growth of the ego or self: 'the impulse to master, control or come to self-fulfilling terms with the environment'. Analysts who have freed themselves from Freud's bias and joined other behavioural scientists in studying the human need, and that interference with it, in any dimension, is the source of psychic trouble. The sexual is only one dimension of the human potential. Freud saw women only in terms of their sexual relationship with men. But in all those women in whom he saw sexual problems, there must have been very severe problems of blocked growth, growth short of full human identity -- an immature, incomplete self. Society as it was then, by explicit denial of education and independence, prevented women from realising their full potential, or from attaining those interests and ideals that might stimulated their growth. Freud reported these deficiencies, but could only explain them as the toll of 'penis envy'. He saw that women who secretly hungered to be man's equal would not enjoy being his object; and in this, he seemed to be describing a fact. But when he dismissed woman's yearning for equality as 'penis envy', was he not merely stating his own view that woman could never really be man's equal, any more than she could wear his penis?”


Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
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The Feminine Mystique The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
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