Assessing Issues of Gender in Social Work Practice: An Overview of the De-feminization of the Female

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Assessing Issues of Gender in Social Work Practice: An Overview of the De-feminization of the Female A better question would be to ask what we as a society can do to ensure that gender equality is not just an issue about men and women, but also an issue about the quality of humanity. "Every woman is birth-defective, an imperfect male begotten because her father happened to be ill, weakened, or in a state of sin at the time of her conception." ~ St. Thomas Aquinas Simone de Beauvoir's influential work, entitled The Second Sex, made mainstream society aware of women's rejection of the theories upon which her development and socialization were based. Through de Beauvoir's eyes we are privy to her perceptions of the injustices facing women, especially as women attempt to make their way in a male-dominated world. Her social criticisms range from the effects of socialization on female stereotypes and social norms to the imbalance of gender roles and patriarchal psychological theories on female development. She takes particular issue with Sigmund Freud's classical, psychoanalytic theory about human development. Some of her strongest criticisms are of Freud's psychosexual stages of development in which he seems to minimize or devalue female development, thus suggesting that women are sexually and socially inferior to men. The importance of what de Beauvoir is saying is that women's existence has been minimized, devalued, and left out of the psychoanalytic equation altogether in terms of development. While de Beauvoir chooses to study women in an existential perspective - taking into account her complete existence and environment - Freud has minimized the female experience to nothing more than inherent envy for the male org... ... middle of paper ... ...n authority, but also to answer those questions when in authority. References Benjamin, J. (1995). Sameness and Difference: The "Overinclusive" Model. Psychoanalytic Inquiry 15(1), 125-142. Davis, L. (1985). Female and Male Voices in Social Work. Social Work. March-April. 106-112. Gilligan, C. (1982). In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Goldman, E. (1917). The Traffic in Women and Other Essays on Feminism. New York, NY: Mother Earth Publishing Association. Horney, K. (1967). Feminine Psychology. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. Paglia, C. (1992). Sex, Art, and American Culture. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Paglia, C. (1994). Vamps and Tramps. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Schultz, D. (1990). Theories of Personality. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Incorporated.

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