In this paper I am going to explore how useful psychoanalysis when viewed from the feminist theory. As women experience the social world differently, there exists different feminist point of view within the feminist tradition. This is what brings us to look at Freud's (1977) work, the founder of `psychoanalysis' and to look at the criticisms that have been made of his work, and I also intend to identify the main strengths of psychoanalysis when viewed from the feminist perspective. It should be known that this a complex question, so therefore, by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as debatable to others depending on individual beliefs.
In broad terms the influence of psychoanalysis has produced two major differing issues. The first of these is the `Freudian' feminist' who are inclined to stress the prior (pre-linguistic) importance of the mother (Beasley, 1999). The second grouping draws upon the work of Jacque Lacan, an interpreter of Freud's analytic method which provides a linguistic view of Freud. The influence of Lacan in the perspectives of feminists marks a move away from the real world towards comparatively abstract philosophy analysis of culture and specifically towards the symbolic-cultural meaning encoded in language (Beasley, 1999).
Whether we believe in his theory or not, most people agree that Freud is one the greatest thinkers of modern time. His discovery of psychoanalysis has made mental illness immense. Although hen completed most of his work in the early years of last century, he his still hugely influential. Despite this success, or perhaps due to it, Freud's ideas have always been controversial. His scientific discussion on psychology growth resulted in the theory of psychosexual development (Freud, 1997). His ideas created a great deal of argument at the initial time of release, and frequently are considered so, to this very day. The main reason for an initial negative reaction was due to the often-strong sexual content of his work. Freud made a suggestion that "powerful incestuous sexual desire exist in all humans, including infants (Gay, 1995). Freud work has been criticized mostly by women not to mention the feminist perspective to this day. His criticism stemmed from the manner in which he inaccurately differentiates between the psychological growth and maturity of males to that of females. Many people have contended that this was very due to the era in which Freud operated, with the medical field dominated my males. Therefore, thoughts within the medical field at the time were apparently biased towards women.
Whatever the reason, psychoanalysis and theories developed from it, have always been considered extremely patriarchal and phallocentric (Sayers, 1991). Most feminist's are of the opinion that writings from many if not all authors of science and literature, including sometimes Marxist were too...