Part One: Destiny

Chapter 2: The Psychoanalytical Point of View

The first question that might spring to mind when one reaches Chapter 2 is: Why a chapter on psychoanalysis in a book investigating the situation of women? For one thing, when SdB  was writing The Second Sex, Freudian (and Adlerian, etc.) psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory was still pretty new and revolutionary. For another, because it focused a lot of attention on gender, and on individuals as living subjects not objects to be observed. As SdB puts it in the opening lines of the chapter, psychoanalysis, “it is not the body–object described by scientists that exists concretely, but the body lived by the subject.” (50) Which I think is another way of saying “biology is not destiny” – or body parts are not destiny (or shouldn’t be anyway).

But despite the fact that psychoanalytic theory and practice opened up new…

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