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jung and sexism continued AKA "its not only my reaction"

Jung and sexism

Despite his interest in the subjective side of life, which many associate with the feminine, "andro- centrism and misogyny distort Jung's discussion of women."(Wehr,p.99)He associates the feminine with negative concepts, such as darkness, unconsciousness, irrationality, and vacuity.The masculine is associated with light, spirit, consciousness and rationality.These are of course dualistic stereotypes of long standing, and in typical patriarchal fashion, it is the male who has to conquer the dark feminine elements of life."The hero's main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness [i.e. the terrible mother]: it is the long hoped for and expected triumph of consciousness over unconsciousness."(CW 9,i,par.284)Jung states:

"With her cunning play of illusions the soul lures into life the inertness of matter that does not want to live.She makes us believe incredible things, that live may be lived.She is full of snares and traps, in order that man should fall, should reach the earth, entangle himself there, and stay caught."(CW 9,i,par.56)

"The spiritual man was seduced into putting on the body, and was bound to it by 'Pandora, whom the Hebrews call Eve'.She played the part, therefore, of the anima...just as Shakti or Maya entangles man's consciousness with the world."(CW 13,par.126)From these statements it appears that Jung adhered to the old shibboleth: that woman caused the fall of man.

The myth of the male hero is central to Jung's thought.His system of individuation is for the so-called development of the male.He interprets various mythologies in terms of his own theory.For example, he says the slaying of the bull in Mithraism represents the overcoming of the feminine (equals unconscious to him) by the male hero as part of his "heroic journey"(Symbols of Transformation).There is no general agreement on the meaning of this mythos.Some see it as representing the precession of the equinoxes from the Age of Taurus to Aries, which is no less plausible than Jung's interpretation.

Diane Purkiss has made some very insightful comments on the Jungian view of the Great Mother:

"Jung and Neumann,in the meantime, saw the Great Goddess as a buried aspect of the male psyche, while historians and archaeologists interested themselves in unearthing...the figure of the Great Mother lost to male civilisation.The result was to reify associations between women and the primitive, the uncivilised, the instinctual.Conversely, by insisting that such figures were the dark, repressed underside of civilisation, civilisation was reproduced as exclusively a business for men.Men alone had lost their connection with the 'dark continent' of myth and the feminine; since women were always already marginal to civilisation, they could become bearers of its repressed underside."(Purkiss, p.34)

Jung writes about the need for the union of opposites, but again confuses the issue. Jung usually takes a negative view of the feminine, which, when it unites with the masculine in his system, it is the" masculine" qualities of light and consciousness that prevail.He does not make a distinction between polarities and opposites.For example, the polarities in nature such as day and night do not oppose each other, they are like two sides of the one coin.Yin and yang are in eternal dance, both having equal worth.Neither yin nor yang are absorbed into the other, each retains its identity in the cosmic interplay.

Opposites such as good and evil, rational and and irrational are the products of dualistic thinking, and it is not a question of uniting them but of promoting holistic thinking.Jung perpetuates the dualistic thinking and sex stereotyping of patriarchy.Patriarchy holds that the feminine is a problem and the solution is male dominance.The more enlightened ones see that patriarchy is the problem.

Demaris Wehr observes:

"In the case of the anima,Jung's psychology intersects with sexism in its deepest form: men's unconscious desires to escape implications of their own embodiment and passions."(p.114)"Many female Jungians have corroborated Jung's devaluation of women because their own internalized oppression is reassuringly in tune with his opinions."(p.106)

"I am pointing to the wounding effects of a misogynist society on women's self-esteem and the corresponding effect of Jung's psychology when he echoes patriarchy's attitudes.Inasmuch as Jung's psychology reinforces patriarchy's negative message to women, it only deepens their wounds.It does not heal them."(p.121)

The following remarks by Jung are more than just a slip-up on his behalf:

"No matter how friendly and obliging a woman's Eros may be, no logic on earth can shake her if she is ridden by the animus.Often the man has the feeling - and he is not altogether wrong - that only seduction or a beating or a rape would have the necessary power of persuasion."(CW9,ii,par.29)

Vincent Brome has remarked:

"Deeply concerned to preserve the distinction between the sexes, he could easily write:'the worst sight...is the woman parading in trousers...I often thought if only they knew how mercilessly ugly they looked.'Women, he complained, plunged into a process called co-education, trying to make the sexes equal instead of emphasising their differences.'They belonged usually to a very decent type of middle class and were not smart at all, but only touched by the...raging hermaphroditosis.'"(p.207)

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Re: jung and sexism continued AKA "its not only my reaction"

Wehr, as a Post-Jungian psychologist and theologian, having come to terms with her justified anger at Jung’s sexism,[14] considers “Jung’s psychology … a worldview [that] offers far-ranging explanations, some of which are ignored at our peril.”[15] She sees part of her task as a feminist Post-Jungian to recontextualize Jung’s theories, to correct and extend them where necessary, and thus to bring them up to date. Wehr acknowledges Jung’s concept of the anima as “an important first step” in recognizing the feminine side of the masculinized psyche. But adds that his “descriptions of the anima reveal the source of emotional alienation from which Western men seem to suffer.”[16] Nevertheless, she writes, “for all its faults from the point of view of women’s search for authentic self-definitions, arising out of their own lives and woman-affirming experience, Jung’s valuing of what he called the ‘feminine’ has pointed to what is lacking, undervalued, misunderstood, and feared in the Western world.” Wehr calls upon feminist Post-Jungian thinkers to join her in expanding Jungian theory to a more holistic approach

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