Chapter 5: The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud

April 11, 2011 | Catherine

If you are still trying to figure out what “solipsism” means, search no longer, I looked it up and Merriam-Webster defines it as:

“a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing;also : extreme egocentrism”

Betty Friedan rightly names this chapter in The Feminine Mystique, since of course to Freud, everything is sexual or is caused by something sexual.

The whole chapter is about how Freudian thought eventually caused the “feminine mystique.” According to Freud, women who suffer from discontentment are actually enduring an envy for the male anatomy and a simultaneous contempt for herself. 

Friedan continues on her exegesis of Freud’s works in the chapter. Among all the tangled psychoanalysis, there is one notion that particularly struck me, that has seemed to perpetuate itself as a continuing thread throughout The Feminine Mystique, that is – why are we, as women, so often portrayed (and I would say sometimes rightfully so) as discontent and envious? How can we improve this?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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