John Stuart Mill v Sigmund Freud on feminism

This is a footnote from Jeffrey Masson’s Against Therapy (1988), a profoundly interesting book that reminds us just how corrupt the entire psychiatric establishment is. Check out Google Scholar on Masson to see just part of the debate he stoked up. But here I am quoting a passage from a letter written by Freud in 1883 in which Freud discusses John Stuart Mill’s views on feminism and its possibilities. In light of how the world has unfolded since those times, there is no question who had the more realistic understanding of the possibilities that were then inherent.

“Freud’s views on feminism were not positive. This is clear from a letter to his fiancĂ©e, Martha Bernays, written on November 15 1883, in which he tells her that he has been translating John Stuart Mill: ‘He lacked the sense of the absurd, on several points, for instance in the emancipation of women and the question of women altogether. I remember a main argument in the pamphlet I translated that the married woman can earn as much as the husband. I dare say we agree that housekeeping and the care and education of children claim the whole person and practically rule out any profession … It seems a completely unrealistic notion to send women into the struggle for existence in the same way as men. Am I to think of my delicate sweet girl as a competitor? … I believe that all the reforming activity, legislation and education will founder on the fact that long before the age at which a profession can be established in our society, Nature will have appointed woman by her beauty, charm and goodness, to do something else.” Letters of Sigmund Freud, 1873-1939, by Ernst L. Freud, trans. by Tania and James Stern (London: The Hogarth Press, 1961), 90″ [The ellipses are found in the original footnote as transcribed by Masson.] (Masson 1988: 91)

Masson, Jeffrey, 1988. Against Therapy. London: Fontana Paperbacks.

1 thought on “John Stuart Mill v Sigmund Freud on feminism

  1. Pingback: John Stuart Mill v Sigmund Freud on feminism - The Rabbit Hole

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