Mother- blaiming and the fight for and against sex segregation
by P. Klevius 2003
Why should differences between the sexes be more important than those within the sexes?
In fact, every feminist difference proposed is a theft from the universal (negative) human rights!
Sex segregation, in a world that in practice has de-sex segregated, is the ideological construction of individuals as gendered subjects in a historically determined structure. The purported (i.e. not unconscious) effort to bridge socially, personally and politically an obvious lack of corresponding rights between the sexes - a phenomenon similar to how individuals, classes and races that had failed or been victimized, were attributed biological explanations to their fate. Classic sex-segregation, on the other hand, is the sex-division produced by practical circumstances. Hence the word modern should be understood as only partly related to what we conceive as the era of modernity.. Sex-segregation is fueled by uncertainty and confusion and it is used politically in different forms such as e.g. feminism.
Feminism can roughly be described as an almost continuous sliding between its two poles of Anglo-American equality feminism and Central-European difference feminism (M. J. Buhle 1998:14-15). But basically all feminisms are difference feminisms.
The relationship between psychoanalysis and feminism is surprisingly consistent (M. J. Buhle 1998:3-4). However, from the point of view that they are both the same symptoms of the same causes, their resemblance is nothing less than a necessity. Both movements - in fact one and the same movement as opposed to the suffragette/equal rights-movement's emphasis on equality - were born through the same vagina, namely the confused aftermath of the destruction of the rigidly sex segregated pre-modern world.
S. Freud's most uncompromising proposition is that the distinction of men and women is the most significant one that exists. Both psychoanalysis and feminism build on this premise. Feminism and psychoanalysis have in fact developed in a continuous, intertwined dialogue with each other (M. J. Buhle 1998:3). Both are reactions rather than products of the confused turmoil we call modernity and which could be described as changing social and political conditions due to urbanization and industrialization, hence producing creative tendencies and movements.
Modernity: Important characteristics of the view of modernity include the rejection of traditional interpretations, i e that things are not what they seem to be. This interpretational effort, sometimes described as creativity, can perhaps more successfully be described as a reaction against loosen ontological confidence, i e a feeling of loss of a sense of community in modern life (see Attachment)..
Freud's misogyny was rather representative for the Viennese fin dsiecle modernity and, according to H. Ellenberger, its strong emphasis on male domination. The separation and dissimilarity of the sexes in the period from 1880 to 1890 was sharper than today. (1970:255). This evaluation by Ellenberger, however, was made in the heydays of the 1960's equal feminism. Applied to the difference feminism of today his assessment might not have been that strong.
For example, women who wore their hair short were hardly to be found and even in mixed social gatherings men and women resided in different parts of the rooms (H. Ellenberger 1970:255). This is, by the way, also a common picture of a typical Swedish elementary school of today.
Conflicts between generations, particularly between fathers and sons, were more common than today. Authoritarianism reigned everywhere. This must be considered with regard to the genesis of Freud?s Oedipus complex (H. Ellenberger 1970:255).
According to Otto Weininger there are two ideal women: the "absolut prostitute" and the "absolute mother". Perception and feeling are indifferent in women. The "abstract female" lacks continuity and should thus be kept out of public affairs (Ellenberger 1970:788-9).
Although the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which occupied a vast area of central Europe, is often considered ?ridiculously old-fashioned?, it also expressed surprisingly modern traits of a "supra-national state" not unlike the European unification efforts of today (H. Ellenberger 1970:259).
The liberal national basic law of 1867 had brought equal rights to the Austro-Hungarian Jews,, completely and without qualification. A consequence of this emancipation was a wave of poor Jewish immigrants, mainly from eastern parts of Europe. Because the Catholic-conservatives of Vienna were less prone to fully adapt to the innovations of the modem age, the more education-conscious Jews encountered little competition and consequently filled up a disproportional number in higher education..
Frequent anti-Semitism and the decline in power suffered by Freud's father's generation, often liberal rationalists, in the Habsburg empire, are then reflected in psychoanalysis as well. So too was Freud's interest in the theme of the seduction of daughters rooted in complicated ways in the context of Viennese attitudes toward female sexuality (Britannica 1999). Favorite themes of the time included destructive consequences of the imaginary and illusory views on women, e g as exemplified by the the beloved?s distorted image as seen by the lover. The man carries with him different ?ready-made? pictures that he projects onto women: the mere sexual object; the femme fatale, the muse and the virgin-mother. According to Laura Marholm and Otto Weininger the goal of women was to gratify man?s desires. Freud, however, seems to have taken ?the natural inferiority of woman for granted? (Ellenberger 1970:292-3). This view was challenged by Alfred Adler who rather saw all public and private institutions as resting on the prejudice of the superiority of the male, thus creating a feeling - Adler mentions the creation of war ?mass psychosis? - of female inferiority which can be acquired at the earliest age (H. Ellenberger 1970:611).
The beginning of the 20th century experienced a flight from all what three generations of activists had sought for women and a return to an emphasise on the differences between the sexes. This could, according to M. J. Buhle be seen as the central contradiction of modern feminism (1998:354). Discriminating between feminists and activists for equal rights, however, could eliminate this contradiction. To emphasize difference is essentially what it means to be a feminist, whereas exactly the opposite is to strive for human rights.
Marx¨ and Freud's axis of work and sex, i.e. civilized production and womanly reproduction, constitutes main and seemingly opposing boundaries for psychoanalysts and feminists. Although French linguist feminists aligned with post-modernism called into question the notions of self and subjectivity, they also expressed new mechanisms for essentializing feminity and leaving nothing tangible (M. J. Buhle 1998:355).  A possible way out of this dilemma is the eradication of both themes - because they obviously contradict the idea of human rights as independent from what humans are/do - and replace them with the concept human as understood in the realm of basic human, (negative) rights. In praxis it is a subversion of and a resistance against the necessity of sex-segregation.
A woman has never given birth to a child, although many have delivered one. Life is, so far, an unbroken chain without a point of departure. Humans can kill but have so far failed to create life. Although some might consider this reasoning an un-necessary stretching of words I would like to exemplify the problem. We use to say that mankind has survived, that couples make children and that women reproduce babies. Because all of these are essentially the same we then have to look for the different motives that lay behind these differing usages of concepts. And why should we exclude mother-/womanhood from this scrutiny? What we can agree on is that the baby grows in a woman's, but not a man's body. So?
(also read Childless Female Child psychoanalysts in Search for Motherhood/Femininity.
According to P. J Caplan mother-blaming in the form of ?maternal deprivation? most often lacks the follow-up questions regarding ?paternal deprivation? or possible mistreatment from other persons in the child?s environment. What about ?cultural deprivation? in the form of:
...deprivation of mother-infant closeness by a culture that is obsessed with the importance of separation and individuation and pathologizes closeness, connection, and interdependence to the point that mothers pull away from their children out of fear that their love and closeness will damage them. Related to this point, I would suggest that the use of terms like mother-daughter "fusion", "enmeshment", and "symbiosis" no longer be used, since they promote this kind of misguided pathologizing (P. J. Caplan 1990:62).
A woman approached Caplan after her talk and agreed about everything she had said - except for her own mother. Caplan concludes: North America seems to be filled with daughters, each of whom believes that her mother is the world's only masochist. What kind of culture encourages such mother-blaming (1990:63)?
A proper gender identity
The importance of a proper gender identity became especially emphasized at the UCLA Gender Identity Research Clinic because of the research made by J. M. Mooney according to which the determination of gender identity is post-natal and cultural. These ?culturalist? ideas then emerged with psychoanalytic ideas about mother-infant symbiosis and relations. M. Mahler was at the helm of this new mother-infant relationship research that focused on the need for the child?s self to separate from the mother to gain a proper sense of gender. Already in her teens M. Mahler (Schoenberger) developed a "deep adolescent friendship" with her high school classmate Alice Balint, another famous theorist of the mother-infant relationship. In a (for its time typically feminine way - my comment) M. Mahler (Schoenberger) ended up as a paediatrician on a well-baby clinic in Vienna after having finished her medical and psychoanalytic training.   (M. J. Buhle 1998:246-248).
Although psychoanalysis is often described as progressive and anti mainstream it has in fact been a massive, misogynist and much popularised success story in different media (see e.g. M. J. Buehle 1998:165-205).
The psychoanalytic historiographer P. Roazen criticizes E. Young-Bruehl, for having written a "heavily biased biography of Anna Freud". This is made possible by a liberal "spirit of tolerance" combined with a "distaste for controversy" that has failed to monitor books on the history of psychoanalysis. In Young-Bruehl's biography no more than three pages are devoted to Anna Freuds views on psychoanalysis and feminist thoughts and Karen Horney is not even mentioned in the book. This is the more remarkable when Young-Bruehl considers Anna Freud "her generations most scientifically exact and wide-ranging theoretical and clinical contributor" (P. Roazen 2000:283-285).
The criminologist Cesare Lombroso who believed in "the born criminal" influenced Laura Marholm's view on femininity (S. Brantly 1991:54). This is not surprising when considering the abundance of biological explanations in the late 19th century. Although Laura Marholm in the eyes of many of her contemporaries was seen as a traitor against feminism, the feminists of today are more interested of her and her view on the special features that womanhood consists of (K. Tuohela 2002:19-20, 37).
In 1954 E. A. Strecker and V. T. Lathbury published Their Mother's Daughters in which they argued that feminism embodied women?s deep wish to compete with men and simultaneously expressed their dissatisfaction with being a woman. According to the authors femininity, on its poart, is to be defined as "the biological and psychological art of being a woman" (in M. J. Buhle 1998:194-195).
!Kung children learn from an early age advanced social skills and can de treated indulgently because they are raised within multi-aged groups consisting of relatives and friends. This can be contrasted by the relative isolation of modern mothers (M. J. Konner 1976:220)
In the light of studies among hunter-gatherers, recommendations encouraging less maternal attachment must be viewed with scepticism (M. J. Konner 1976:242).
Sexuality is a ?particular instance of semiosis? (sic) where objects become assigned to instincts, in S. Freud?s words, and objects and bodies are displaced from external and dynamic bodies to the psychic reality of immediate fantasmatic bodies  (T. de Lauretis 1997:320).
According to R. Braidotti men[1] cannot have a gender but are rather expected to carry something different, namely abstract virility, i.e. a Phallus, which is hardly an easy task (1997:42). J. Butler then confronts Braidotti with the problem of a too rigid notion of gender asymmetry when the linguistic and conceptual presupposition of sexual difference as an inevitable condition of all writing falsely universalises a social asymmetry, thereby reifying social relations of gender asymmetry in a linguistic or symbolic realm, maintained problematically at a distance from socio-historical practice. The pathos of exclusion as the "ground of feminism" (1997b:42-43). R. Braidotti's less than satisfactory answer divides the concept of sexual difference in its "diagnostic function" and its "strategic or programmatic aims" (1997:43).
Some feminists see - much like many green environmentalists - feminism as a temporary tool in the aim of reaching equality between the sexes. Feminism thus would contribute to the eradication of itself. As noted by M. J. Buhle, radical feminists like Firestone advocated for the eradication of all markers of sexual difference to the extent that genital differences between human beings no longer matter culturally. Contemporary psychoanalysts did not enjoy this revolution too much (1991:219). One may, however, also question whether this kind of purported "feminist worldview" represents feminism at all because of its lack of any essence, biological or cultural. The belief in a biological disposition for sexual attraction towards females implanted in the mid-brain of males would explain a lot and could, in fact be the only true "feminism". Furthermore a view that it is a misfortune for women to be destined for the reproduction of life supports a worldview that points out that what is male is valuable.

Peter Klevius 2003
[1]  R. Braidotti explains men in this context as the empirical referent of the masculine. As I see this as self-evident when it comes to a discussion about feminism and sexual difference I decided to omit this subordinate clause. As a consequence the main clause and its main content becomes more visible.
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