Week 1 Day 2 Discussion Question 3

Marynia F. Farnham and Ferdinand Lundberg emphasize the importance of passive, heterosexual fulfillment to women’s happiness and family stability. They write:

The dominant direction of feminine training and development today . . . discourages just those traits necessary to the attainment of sexual pleasure: receptivity and passiveness, a willingness to accept dependence without fear or resentment, with a deep inwardness and readiness for the final goal of sexual life — impregnation. It doesn’t admit of wishes to control or master, to rival or dominate. The woman who is to find true gratification must love and accept her own womanhood as she loves and accepts her husband’s manhood. . .

A sexually fulfilled woman, Farnham and Lundberg argue, is capable of good mothering.  However, roughly half of all mothers are psychologically maladjusted, and their failure “to accept dependence without fear and resentment” has dire social and political consequences:

The spawning ground of most neurosis in Western civilization is the home. The basis for it is laid in childhood, although it emerges strongly later, usually from late adolescence until middle age, provoked by circumstances and conditions encountered in life. And as we have pointed out, the principal agent in laying the groundwork for it is the mother. Many women classified as housewives and mothers are just as disturbed as were the feminists, and for the same general reasons. There are mothers, for example, who, although not neurotic, feel dissatisfied with the life they are leading. The home offers them few energy outlets. The work they do in it does not bring them prestige. Others, neurotic by reason of their own childhood upbringing and the failure of life to provide them with satisfactory outlets, suffer from the same general affliction as the feminists–penis-envy. It is more repressed than it was in the feminists, but it is at work in the psychic depths. . .

As Cherry and Dvorsky observe, Freud’s ideas about gender and sexuality have been largely discredited in recent years.  Still, do  you see any evidence of this kind of mother-blaming in today’s culture?


One thought on “Week 1 Day 2 Discussion Question 3

  • February 16, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Although Cherry ad Dvorsky point out many of the ideas of Freud that have been discredited, I can still think of one very relevant example of where mother-blaming is still seen in today’s culture. All the time – at least weekly – I see posts on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. of celebrity mothers being shamed constantly for how they portray themselves or they are accused for working/traveling too often and not spending an adequate amount of time at home raising their own children. This is especially true of celebrity mothers that embrace their sexuality such as people like Emily Ratajkowski or anyone of the Kardashians. At the end of the day, celebrity mothers are career mothers; therefore, Freud would classify them as masculine for seeking fulfillment outside the home because they are not solely dependent on their male counterpart for income. However, it’s important to keep in mind that celebrities come under much harsher scrutiny than the average person. In general, I think mother-blaming is becoming more outdated as the older generation and their conservative beliefs are dying out or they are becoming more progressive in their beliefs. Although it’s more accepted and widespread to be both a career woman and attentive mother, mother-blaming does still unfortunately exist to some degree.

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