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Feminine Psychology

February 15th, 2021

Feminine psychology is the psychology of the female of the human species and it includes the study of the gender related “female human identity” as well as the psychological interpretations of the issues that females confront during their life time.

Gender studies help us to understand and make a distinction of the natural biological gender differences and gender differences that have been created based on the gender roles established by the society from time to time. Further gender studies also help us to understand the gender bias that exists in the society.

Feminine psychology is also involved in highlighting the gender bias that existed in traditional psychological theories and offers alternative theories to counter those biases and propagate new thinking. Work related to hysteria and neurosis is particularly important in this regard.

Feminine psychology: “Penis envy”

There was a time when it was a widely accepted belief that women were in fact “imperfect men” and their imperfectness arouse from their sexual inadequacies. It was believed that women wanted to do everything like men because of this sexual inadequacy that can be more explicitly said as the jealousy of not having the “penis”. The irony of the whole thing is that this thinking came from one of the brilliant minds of the 19th century i.e. Sigmund Freud who is the father of the psychoanalytic movement. He coined the term “penis envy” for what he called as the sexual inadequacy in women which manifested in all her thinking and doings. It was even postulated that women became hysteric and neurotic when their desire to be like men could not be fulfilled. He said that women where envious for all that men stood for and this envy starts sexually in the childhood when a female sees that she is devoid of a penis which her brother has. For more than 150 years this theory was accepted without any major questioning and women suffered a lot because of this thinking that spread in the society as a norm.

Feminine psychology: The theory of “Penis envy” and the challenge to the theory

It was only in the early and later part of the 20th century that this belief was challenged adequately by some brilliant women psychoanalysts and psychologists. They challenged Freud’s theory by strongly advocating the fact that Freud was actually a prisoner of his culture and times and what he said and interpreted was based on the social conditions of his times. In the 19th century Victorian culture women were living a very discriminated and marginalized life and had lot of restrictions that were heaped on them. In this kind of scenario whenever women got frustrated and tried to challenge the system they were rebuffed strongly and they were ridiculed for trying to “imitate men”. This phenomenon was called as “penis envy” and all their emotions and feelings were rubbished as neurotic behaviour which was thought to be naturally associated to them.

Feminine psychology: Wandering uterus

We would not believe it today but it is a fact that all the diseases of the women were in fact thought to originate from her uterus and it was said that women had a wandering uterus. Subsequently it was proven medically that all that talk of “wandering uterus” was a big rubbish.

Feminine psychology: Work of Karen Horny

Women Psychoanalysts such as Karen Horny did excellent work to show that medical conditions like neurosis in women was necessarily not of sexual in origin but was triggered by the external environment of a individual and the coping mechanism employed be the individual to manage it. She went on to say that neurosis was a common condition that existed in all human beings in various degrees. It is in fact a condition that is part of an individual who is trying to live his or her life. In other words we all have a neurotic corner in us. It only becomes a full blown medical condition when the external conditions overwhelm our individual self and our coping mechanisms completely fail to manage it.

Further Karen Horny hit hard on the theory of “penis envy’ by postulating a counter theory called as the “womb envy”. According to this theory men in fact felt inadequate about themselves because of their lack of “natural creative abilities” as seen in women who is bestowed by the nature to create life. This might be the reason why men run around the world trying to be creative and generative.

Feminine psychology: Extreme theories

Both that is the “penis envy” and the “womb envy” theories are extreme in nature. What we need to appreciate is that the 19th century social conditions were different and today’s social and cultural conditions are completely different. Today women don’t feel sexually inadequate to men or for that matter in any other way. The reason for this is that in relative terms women are more free and independent today than they were in the 19th century or to times before that.

Feminine psychology: Androgynous disposition

More than that, now we have reached a “time” when we are actually exploring the frontiers of human mentation. Latest scientific studies are exploring the capacity of the human mind that was never thought before. We are also understanding the fact that gender differences are highly subjective and in reality a human being is more likely to be androgynous in nature that is the feminine and the masculine both exist in the same human being. A balance between the feminine and the masculine would be the condition that would in fact ensure the survival of the human species.

Feminine psychology: Personality theories

Further feminine psychology also deals with the study of personality theories based on the various “schools of thought” with a focus to offer therapy related solutions for a healthier and better life for the individual. Feminine psychology especially tries to offer holistic solutions to medical problems such as depression, neurosis and psychosis in women.

The study of feminine psychology will not be complete without understanding the below mentioned topics in detail

1. General Psychology-This include subtopics such as personality development, learning and behavioral psychology, sensation and perception, memory, intelligence and states of mind, motivation and emotion, social psychology, psychopathology and psychotherapy.

2. Traditional Branches of Psychology-This include subtopics such as evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, behavioral Psychology, behavioral genetics, cognitive psychology, cognitive behavioral psychology, and abnormal Psychology.

Psychoanalytic traditions are a major branch of clinical psychology and especially useful to understand the workings of the human mind. This subject covers the following topics

1. Classical Psychoanalytic Theories-This includes topographic theory, structure theory & ego psychology

2. Other Theories-This includes conflict theory, object relations theory, self Psychology, psychoanalysis, feminist theory of psychoanalysis, analytical psychology, interpersonal psychoanalysis, relational psychoanalysis and modern psychoanalysis.

3. Psychoanalytic Schools-This includes Freudian and New Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian schools.

The Personality theories based on various psychological schools are especially valuable to understand the various issues related to human existence and how humanity approaches them for working out holistic solutions for better lifestyle. These personality theories based on various psychological schools include

1. Existentialist Psychology-This includes theories and concepts like the existential vacuum, finding meaning, transcendence, love and will and myths, dreams, phenomenology, existence, anxiety, guilt, death, authenticity, inauthenticity, families, Social unconscious, evil and human needs.

2. Humanistic and Social Psychology-This includes theories and concepts like the phenomenal field subjective to the organism, one motive that is preserve and enhance the phenomenal self, differentiation, concept of threat, meaning in learning or learning is meaningful, traits or dispositions, psychological maturity, functional autonomy, incongruity, defenses, the fully-functioning person and self-actualization.

3. Depth psychology, Ego psychology and Psychoanalysis-This includes theories and concepts like the id, the ego and the superego, life instincts and death instinct, anxiety, the defense mechanisms, the stages, the oedipal crisis and development of character, development and self-theory, theory of neurosis, the epigenetic principle, children and adults, the first stage, stage two, stage three, stage four, stage five, stage six, stage seven and stage eight, ego psychology and child psychology.

4. Depth psychology, Analytical psychology and Psychoanalysis- This includes theories and concepts such as the archetypes, the dynamics of the psyche, the self, synchronicity, introversion and extroversion, the functions and assessment.

5. Behaviour Psychology and Temperament-This includes theories and concepts such as schedules of reinforcement, shaping, aversive stimuli and behavior modification, neurotic, extraversion-introversion and psychotic, 12 irrational ideas that cause and sustain neurosis, unconditional self-acceptance, self-controlled therapy and modelling therapy.

6. Experimental & Cognitive Psychology-The includes theories and concepts such as concrete operations stage and formal operations stage.

7. Phenomenological and Cognitive Psychology-The includes theories and concepts such fundamental postulate, the construction corollary, the experience corollary, the dichotomy corollary, the organization corollary, the range corollary, the modulation corollary, the choice corollary, the individuality corollary, the commonality corollary, the fragmentation corollary, the sociality corollary and feelings.

8. Generalized Personality Theory-This includes theories and concepts such as the hero, the artist and life & death.

9. Buddhist Psychology-This includes theories and concepts such as the structure of the mind, the four noble truths and the eightfold path.

10. Sociobiology-This includes theories and concepts such as instinct, evolution, attraction, children, helping, aggression, aggression in human beings and sociobiology Vs culture.

11. The Ultimate Theory of Personality-This includes theories and concepts such as consciousness and the unconscious, stages, temperament, learning, emotions, motivation, neurosis, coping strategies and balance.

Feminine psychology: Psychology of gender and eastern psychology

Psychology of gender is a very important subject which needs to be studied with a scientific approach to understand the issues related to feminine psychology and feminine gender. This subject includes the following topics

1. Gender
2. Gender studies
3. Gender Identity
4. Gender differences
5. Gender Roles
6. Gender Bias: Sexism

Eastern Psychology is a vast ocean which can work in tandem with the Western Psychological schools to offer a holistic solution to humanity. This subject includes the following topics

1. Eastern and Western Psychology
2. Vedanta Psychology
3. Buddhist Psychology
4. Zen Psychology
5. Yogic Psychology
6. Tantric Psychology
7. Sufi Psychology
8. Taoist Psychology
9. The Psychology of the Yang
10. Personal Psychology
11. Depth Psychology
12. Gestalt psychology
13. Dynamic Psychology and psycho synthesis
14. Parapsychology

The role of feminine psychology is to offer women and men an integrated approach to a healthy lifestyle which is based on gender equality in every sphere of life. It tries to offer best possible therapeutic solutions to the various problems and issues that arise because of the interaction of an individual in the society and the opposite also. The most important aspect is that feminine psychology does not divide humanity but it acts as the building bridge for a better and prosperous society.