Feminism & Psychology

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 0959-3535
Publications
Article
PIP This article examines gendered work-health relationships among female factory workers in Rio Tinto, a textile factory town in Brazil. The author draws on her own and her parents' experiences as factory workers and as residents of Rio Tinto. In addition, she gathered research during 1982-86 and 1988-93, interviewing 30 female and 12 male workers. Findings from 1924-58 and 1959-91 indicate that the family structure and work process were interlinked. Self-images are construed to be the intersection of social relations of sex and class, psychopathology, and the concept of work positions. Gendered relations are a social construction, and awareness of these relations is based on a hierarchy and form of power based on a gendered division of labor. Gendered relations arise out of a specific historical context. Social practices reflect the relationship between sexual division of labor and gendered social relations, their modalities, shape, and periodization. The work-health relationship is expressed in the gendered technical organization of work, the gendered socialization of work, and domestic labor. The period of 1917-58 reflects the capitalist influences. When women became wage earners, their management of household tasks was changed. Men took over the heavy tasks, and women performed tasks that required skill and patience. Work-related health impacts, such as deformed knees or severed fingers, and accidents varied with the task. Women adapted to work conditions. During the 1940s, female workers refused to join the collective protests of men for better wages and conditions. The dream of progress faded by 1964. After 1959, new gendered relations of production and reproduction emerged. Labor laws were passed; new machines were introduced. During 1965-70, the health issues were headaches, irritability, and anxiety. 1970-91 brought a hollowness of spirit and the search for an explanation for the violence they had experienced.
 
Article
PIP Racialized and class specific as well as gendered heterosexuality is compulsory for young women. Substantial academic literature addressed the incidence of premarital adolescent heterosexual intercourse paying particular attention to young working-class women and (especially in the US) to young women of color. During the 1980s, journals and academic texts in the US debated the so-called black underclass disregarding the effects of Reaganomics: increasing poverty, homelessness, ill health, and unemployment, which affected young African-American women. From a traditional (hetero)patriarchal standpoint, any teenage pregnancy is a problem. Hence pregnancy avoidance and planned parenthood focus on young working-class women and young women of color presumed to constitute the problem of the (hetero)sexually active teenager. The ideology of fetal rights as used in anti-abortion and pro-life arguments represents the life of a pregnant woman as in direct opposition to that of her fetus. The ideology of adolescence constructs all young people as inherently prone to irresponsibility, especially if they are female, working-class, and black. In the Third World, young women considered as irresponsible mothers more likely face enforced sterilization than access to abortion in the guise of genetic counseling for disabilities or without explicit consent during other gynecological operations. Feminists point out that under current legislation in England and Wales, fetuses defined as seriously handicapped can be aborted up to the moment of birth. The legacy of eugenicist ideas lives on in assumptions about the inherent deficiencies of young working-class women, young women of color, and young women with disabilities as potential mothers. Yet despite the institutional, cultural, and ideological force of appropriate heterosexual and reproductive activity, young women continue to challenge common sense definitions of normality and deviance.
 
Article
PIP The limited number of male contraceptive methods is often assumed to comprise the major obstacle to greater male responsibility for fertility control. To assess male commitment to pregnancy prevention, 83 male and 120 female students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, were questioned about their attitudes toward an oral contraceptive (OC) intended for their gender. The male respondents were presented with a description of a hypothetical male pill as similar to the female pill as possible. 60% of female respondents had taken the pill, and 62% of men had been sexually involved with an OC user. 71% of women, compared to only 20% of men, indicated they were either likely or very likely to take an OC. Men consistently rated a male OC as more against nature, more of a bother, more harmful, and more against their beliefs than a female OC. 50.8% of women, versus 71.6% of males, indicated they had no hesitancy about their sexual partner taking OCs. The variable with the strongest correlation with hesitancy toward partner OC use was, among women, the notion that the pill is too much of a bother, and, among men, concerns the female pill is harmful. Overall, the study findings indicated that even educated, middle-class men are unwilling to assume the risks and inconveniences associated with effective contraception, yet expect their female partners to do so. Thus, the development of more male birth control methods will not be sufficient to increase male involvement in pregnancy prevention given the salience of gender power relationships.
 
Article
This article critically examines the ideology of empowerment and its links to debates about solidarity and difference among women, especially those from oppressed and minority collectivities. The notions of community, identity, culture and ethnicity are examined together with issues of women's citizenship and coalition politics. The article argues against simplistic notions of empowerment based on identity politics which homogenize and naturalize social categories and groupings and which deny shifting boundaries as well as internal power differences and conflicts of interest. As an alternative, the article suggests the idea of `transversal politics' based on situational dialogues.
 
Analyses of variance for suicidality, behavioral problems, and mental health intervention history (proportion of Yes responses, M and SD) by relationship status.
Analyses of variance (ANOVA) for suicidality, behavioral problems, and psychiatric treatment history (proportion Yes, M and SD) by sexual orientation.
Article
In this article, we examine the associations between women's relationship status and sexual orientation in relation to suicidality, self-perceived excessive use or difficulties controlling the use of alcohol, drugs, and sex, and self-reported psychotherapy and psychiatric medications. On the basis of our analysis of these factors, we argue that the US Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the ban on same-sex marriage may have adverse health consequences for lesbians and bisexual women. Marriage is a well-known protective factor against suicidality and concomitant psychopathology and DOMA deprives lesbians and bisexual women of its security. We focus on marriage because it is legally proscribed in many countries and married individuals in every age and sex group have the lowest suicide rates. Legal proscriptions against same-sex marriage may deprive sexual minorities of the protective effects of these formally legitimized unions, in addition to - as proponents of marriage point out - violating their civil liberties. DOMA conveys an impression of protection despite depriving an entire category of people - non-heterosexuals - of the security, stability, and benefits with which marriage is associated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
In the 1950s John Money and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University developed protocols for the treatment of infants born with genitalia that deviate from social norms for acceptable male and female bodies. In 1990 psychologist Suzanne Kessler commented that Money's theory of intersexuality was 'so strongly endorsed that it has taken on the character of gospel' among medical professionals. Since that time intersexed persons have begun to protest the violent and stigmatizing effects of those medical protocols on their lives. On 10 June 1999, Peter Hegarty interviewed Cheryl Chase, the founder of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), the largest organization of intersexed persons in the world, at her home in northern California. Topics discussed included the surgeries that Cheryl was subjected to as an infant, her discovery that she was intersexed, the formation of ISNA, and the relationships between intersex activism, feminism, lesbian and gay politics, and psychological theory and practice. Hegarty transcribed the two-hour conversation, and this article is an edited version that Cheryl has read and commented on. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Compares 21 independent women, 20 average women, and 21 women with agoraphobia (AGO). Ss completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory and the Environmental Experience Questionnaire, drew a map of their neighborhood, and indicated where they went alone when they had free time. 55% of the average Ss scored at or near the clinical range for AGO. Average Ss resembled Ss with AGO in feminine gender identification, negative attitudes about traveling alone, limited wayfinding skills, and infrequent use of available cultural, social, and recreational resources. Independent Ss identified with the masculine gender, used many settings, often went to places alone, and had good wayfinding skills. The majority of average Ss and Ss with AGO were married and had less education than a college degree, while independent Ss tended to be unmarried and highly educated. The author suggests the deconstructionist approach to AGO. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Responds to comments by D. Spender, J. Chamberlin, J. M. Ussher, and H. Bolderston (see PA, Vol 81:41225, 41182, 41232, and 41177, respectively) on P. Chesler's (1972) book, Women and Madness. Although madness exists more rarely than it is diagnosed in women, it does exist, and women who are suffering have been punitively labeled and seriously punished. However, working with socially and institutionally wounded people is often difficult for radical feminist activists, because these people act out instead of channeling their wisdom and rage into political battle. The book's discussion of female child sexual abuse was not intended to be an indictment of mothers or incest victims. Women's survival and health depend on doing many things simultaneously on a number of levels, including the assurance of freedom and equality for women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Observing sex between otherwise heterosexual women has long been a staple of male fantasy, but only recently has this fantasy graduated from the shelves of pornographic video stores to mainstream movies and television shows. This puts feminist psychologists in a quandary: on one hand, images of female-female sexuality between attractive, 'heterosexual-looking' participants (perhaps better called 'femme-femme' sexuality) may have a powerful positive influence on young women by countering stereotypes of lesbians as unattractive, masculine, and hostile. On the other hand, these images typically take pains to clarify that the participants are not, in fact, lesbians (exemplified by Ally McBeal, in which two of the three 'lesbian kisses' featured during the show's run were undertaken by the participants to 'trick' heterosexual male onlookers, and the third was purely experimental), in order not to spoil the 'interloper fantasy' of the heterosexual male viewer. Thus, such images implicitly convey that the most desirable and acceptable form of female-female sexuality is that which pleases and plays to the heterosexual male gaze, titillating male viewers while reassuring them that the participants remain sexually available in the conventional heterosexual marketplace. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that although the question of sex differences (SDs) has been important in the past, feminist psychology should put it aside. Research on SDs presupposes an essentialist model of gender that can suggest that women (a unitary group) have a shared psychology that presumably produces behavior. SD research also highlights the ways in which women differ from men and overlooks the differences among women. Feminist psychologists have too often mistaken the experiences of White middle-class women as the experiences of all women. It is also argued that SD research is merely descriptive, not illuminating the processes involved in the psychological phenomena under scrutiny, and that the categoricalism of the difference paradigm must be avoided. The social construction of psychological knowledge is also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses the role of attachment theory in conceptual models of feminist psychology. Many feminists consider attachment theory to be intrinsic to feminist psychology beliefs. This article briefly summarizes the historically logical evolution of attachment theory, but makes clear its limitations and some of its negative effects on how women's lives are viewed. Criticisms of the theory and alternative views are presented and factors other than the mother that play critical roles in both normal and pathological development are discussed, including temperament, social class, and the father's role in child care. The article also examines the child care debate in the context of attachment theory and the role of attachment theory in thinking about women's development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This article attempts to reconceptualize J. Bowlby's theory of attachment and maternal loss from a feminist perspective. First, the author situates Bowlby within the historical and cultural period within which his theory originated and then attempts to show how Bowlby's model of grief interiorizes what was essentially a collapse of culturally prescribed funeral rites and mourning customs, and supplants the culturally prescribed meanings of grief and mourning with psychological mechanisms of adaptation. His theory thereby impoverishes cultural forms and reaffirms an understanding of subjectivity as constricted individualism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This paper explores the controversy surrounding lesbian and gay parenting within psychology, focusing on the rhetoric with which 'authoritative' accounts of lesbian and gay parenting are produced. Both 'advocates' and 'enemies' of lesbian and gay parenting have used what C. Kitzinger (1990) has dubbed the 'rhetoric of pseudoscience' to preserve the scientific integrity of their research while, at the same time, undermining the credibility of their opponents' findings. Authors engage in the rhetoric of pseudoscience when they attempt to persuade readers that a piece of research is bad science and that its results, therefore, cannot be taken seriously: they highlight flaws in the methodology and the bias and political motivation of the researchers. In light of recent debates about the merits of essentialism and social constructionism in lesbian and gay psychology, the author considers the (political) costs and benefits of using science and scientific rhetoric. Three of the most common rhetorical strategies used by both the anti- and pro-gay sides are illustrated. These are (1) highlighting the bias and political motivation of your opponents, (2) outlining the methodological flaws in their research, and (3) aligning your work with, or distancing it from, 'common sense.' (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that psychologists should not study sex differences (SDs) and outlines the theoretical principles underlying a feminist project beyond SDs that studies the differences and similarities between and among women and men. It is argued that feminist social psychology remained trapped within 2 dualisms: sex vs gender and similarities vs differences. It is suggested that a feminist psychological project can redefine the vital ground between biology and society. The importance of poststructuralist theory and the concept of the unconscious are stressed in the author's own work. Both postmodernism and the political challenge in terms of power differences among women fail to address similarities between women and men. The concepts of splitting and identification as well as object relations theory are suggested for understanding similarities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Considers what happens when feminism as a social movement and psychology as an academic discipline and profession meet. The discussion is limited to feminists' psychological research and to psychology as a written discourse. In the UK and the US, when feminists encounter psychology as an academic and professional discipline, new organizational structures are formed. Some of the differences in intellectual climate affecting the merging of feminism and psychology in these countries are illustrated by the fact that even social psychology has different meanings in the 2 countries. The independence, procedures, and goals of feminism may enable the new journal Feminism & Psychology to become a forum for developing a new kind of feminist psychological knowledge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that current ethical guidelines in psychological research appear to have had little effect in preventing the use of blatantly sexist research techniques. These guidelines do not address issues directly relating to sexual politics but may meet some feminist concerns. The American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society have not prevented such research from being accepted for publication. Examples of sexist research procedures in published articles are presented. The existence of these examples in mainstream journals attests to failure on the part of the reviewers, journal editors, and researchers. These papers illustrate a pervasive lack of concern for feminist issues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Reports a survey designed to determine whether and how clinical psychology (CP) training in the UK takes account of the existence of sexual inequality (SI), and gathers information that will help stimulate debate and promote changes that must take place within the profession. Discussion and commentary generated by the survey include those by J. A. Williams and G. Watson (1991), L. S. Brown (1991), F. Cheung (1991), and M. Bekker (1991). Information about 14 of the 22 courses in CP offered in the UK is provided by course organizers, trainees provide information about 15, and organizers and trainees describe 10 courses. Inadequacies are revealed in clinical psychologists' training about SI. Thus, the inadequacies of training reflect the lack of commitment of most course organizers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues for a separate section or organization on lesbian issues in the British Psychological Society because these issues will be addressed only occasionally by women's groups. Themes addressed include parallels between the psychology of lesbians today and the psychology of women in the recent past, the American Psychological Association's focus on lesbian issues, and the role of lesbians as leaders in women's organizations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes a study in progress that seeks to contextualize the experience of business ownership in women's lives without reproducing the patriarchal bias encountered in the literature. Rationale for selection of a multiple-case research method and a theoretical sampling strategy are presented. The balance of power in interviewing and the value of multiple interviews are discussed. The emergence of the theme of the work–home mesh is illustrated with vignettes from 3 of the 5 Ss interviewed thus far in the study. Managing the demands of public and private lives and finding a sense of identity within them is a central issue for women owner-managers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Addresses the controversy over whether psychologists should contribute to the media circus over research on sex differences (SDs) and suggests that they should and must. Stereotypes about men and women existed long before psychologists began investigating SDs, and empirical research can dispel stereotypes and help us understand legitimate differences. The need to study SDs is discussed in terms of the "women have less" fallacy and the fact that the alternative to knowledge about SDs is ignorance. The importance of continuing the study of the psychology of women is stressed, and psychobiosocial models are discussed. Feminists are warned of the danger of becoming myopic and dogmatic and of the perils of censorship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines what women do traditionally and studies what they do subversively to generate feminist politics and to imagine possibilities. The authors incite a project of psychological research that would empower as it exposes and would offer social critique as it reveals what could be. They discuss the project in terms of connections (interrogating the stuff of relationships), secrets (desilencing the social underground), politics (untying the knots of political contradictions), and possibilities (studying what is not). Feminist psychologists are creating their own spaces for study and practice, and a community of voices can now be heard beyond the margins of the discipline. They can struggle to transform the margins of psychology at the same time as they efface the center. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses the controversy over the scientific study of sex differences (SDs) which stems in part from the failure of the findings of empirical research to tell the story that feminists hoped that they would. The state of current evidence is reviewed, including the use of meta-analytical techniques that describe SDs on a continuum rather than sameness or difference. These new quantitative analyses have tended to conform to people's ideas about the sexes. Many feminist psychologists stress the very small size of virtually all SDs as well as the inconsistency of findings across studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses the historical and cultural circumstances from which masculinist vocabularies and self-identities have arisen. The search for the "deep masculine" is seen in a contemporary social context where selves are shifting, diffusing, and fragmenting. It is argued that new trends in self-development, such as the spiritualist men's movements, are aimed at restoring the balance between men's and women's personal growth and social position. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Reviews Canadian court cases involving recovered/false memory of child abuse. It is argued that expert testimony regarding the validity of a woman's recovered memory does little more than facilitate the semblance of objectivity. The objectivism cloaking the recovered memory debate is problematic because, as evidenced to date, it denies women access to procedural justice and in so doing makes substantive justice unlikely. Rather than imagining that politics and ideology are not involved in the recovered memory debate, perhaps psychologists and the courts would get a bit closer to the truth of women's lived realities if they explicitly acknowledged the role of patriarchal politics and factored it into their thoughts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Notes the emotional and polarized nature of the debate about false memory syndrome (FMS) in relation to charges of child sexual abuse, and that denial features strongly in the literature of FMS. Interestingly, attempts to deny or minimize sexual abuse are taking place in a culture which over the last 10 yrs has been suffused with accounts of sexual abuse and incest. For feminists what is dismaying is the suggestion that so many individuals, particularly sexual abuse survivors, may come to believe what is not true about their pasts. Dignifying the idea of false memory with the title "syndrome" further silences women and children who are struggling to be believed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Criticizes the medical model of postnatal depression (PD), using interview material from 20 mothers who experienced PD. The criticism is fourfold. First, under the medical model PD is classified as a disease or illness, with insufficient attention given to its social nature. Second, the deterministic notion of the etiology of illnesses does not recognize differences between mothers, or that the same event might have different meanings to different women because of their individual circumstances and expectations. Third, the medical approach locates the source of the problem, and thereby the blame, exclusively within the individual mother or her particular circumstances. Finally, women's personal accounts of their experience of distress are rarely considered within the medical perspective. There have been few attempts to listen to what women with PD are saying and feeling, and to understand them on their own terms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Comments on an article by Michelle Fine (see record 1989-06813-001). The author's groundbreaking analysis of adolescent girls' 'missing discourse of desire' spotlighted the multiple ways in which sociocultural forces operate to erase and undermine girls' experiences and articulations of sexual agency. Although her analysis has obvious applications to the study of sexual-minority (i.e. non-heterosexual) girls' development, her work has been under-appreciated in the adolescent sexual identity literature (judging from low citation rates). This is particularly disappointing given that one of her most interesting and prescient observations concerned the fact that sexual-minority high school students, through the process of coming together in Gay/Lesbian Student Alliances, had managed to create safe spaces for the articulation and analysis of their same-sex desires and the pervasive sociocultural messages delegitimizing them. The author's seminal insight, of course, was that such messages operate just as powerfully to delegitimize and silence heterosexual desires. Yet her observations suggest that, ironically, the historical stigmatization of same-sex sexuality has better equipped sexual minority than heterosexual girls to expose, dismantle, and resist such messages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Explores the relationship between developmental psychology (DP) and social practices, with particular reference to the specific gendered positions that it portrays both for parents and children. The author analyzes the assumptions underlying current trends and developments. The specific examples discussed can be understood as instances of the more general ways in which DP constructs and supports particular discourses of parenting of the child. While the author draws on cultural analyses to support her argument, she also indicates how such representations have material correlates in contemporary welfare and legal practices. She argues that DP occupies a key role in the maintenance and regulation of prevailing power relations and gendered social arrangements. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses working with undergraduate feminist scholars seeking to publish shortened versions of their undergraduate dissertations in feminist psychology. Students spoke of their dissatisfaction with traditional psychology and their attraction to the challenges of a feminist perspective. Personal experience was usually crucial in choosing a dissertation topic. Advice for future feminist psychologists is provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Supports M. Bender and A. Richardson's (1990) call for more Black clinical psychologists and suggests alienation as the 1st hurdle for Black trainees to get on to a clinical psychology course. The author looked toward feminist psychology for more equal opportunities, but found empty rhetoric. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines sociological theory as procedures for women writing society into texts. The author adopts constitutional principles and procedures of social science and uses the term "constitutional" politically. She envisages constitutional theories as conventions operating on semantic and syntactic choices to generate sociological formulations. She also acknowledges E. Durkheim's (1964) constitutional principles and shows how these principles have entered sociological writings. The constitutional thinkers have created the ground rules for sociological discourse and these prevail even when the positivist epistemology has been displaced. How sociological texts organize women's relations as readers to that of which they write is explored. Although this analysis is preoccupied with theory identified with positivism in sociology, interpretive sociologies show analogous methods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Conducted an examination of women's perceptions and experiences of menopause from a feminist perspective and considered gendered constructions of menopause and how these related to wider social practices and structures in terms of power. 10 women (aged 43–60 yrs) completed interviews about experiences with general practitioners regarding menopause or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), HRT and decisions to use, information sought on menopause and HRT, and experiences with partners and/or children. Ss perceived their experience of menopause within the biomedical paradigm. The negative connotations associated with defining menopause as a "deficiency disease" meant that all Ss wanted to avoid its ill effects, achieved through the use of HRT. Ss discussed menopause as something they must "get through" and preferably not talk about. However, perceptions of menopause varied among the Ss and encompasses more than physical experience. The authors argue that the Ss complete dissociation from the experience of menopause, through the lens of the biomedical model, is a product of patriarchal society. Feminist studies could help challenge traditional perspectives of menopause and can change negative perceptions of menopause. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines the way in which most feminist psychology (FP) contributes to traditional gender ideology, rather than challenging it. The author outlines this general argument and indicates alternative directions for an FP applying arguments in occupational psychology. She argues that the only difference between FP's use of femininity and masculinity and the old patriarchal psychology of sex differences is that FP has reevaluated femininity as superior. An approach in terms of gender differences recognizes that there are systematic, though not invariable nor determined, differences between women and men at the psychological level which, despite access to material equality, are not going to disappear overnight. The challenge is to be able to explain them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Analyzed the discourses of 10 female British college students with and without anorexia as they discussed food, weight, and body shape. The discourses of both anorexic and normal women were constructed from images of dissatisfaction concerning their bodies. The measure of success for both groups was found to be physical appearance. Both groups felt that achieving a perfect body would be the key to a new and exciting life. The discourse also showed how losing weight was an attempt to gain control. Both groups also felt that women measure themselves against one another. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Contributions to this Feminism & Psychology special feature address a number of key tensions and conflicts in girls' friendships: tensions between being 'nice' and being mean, between being friends and being popular, between being friends and being in competition, and between being friends and being 'sexual'. The articles attempt to place friendships within the specific micro- and macro-political contexts which give them meaning and emotional intensity. Several contributors comment on the apparent explosion of interest in 'mean' girls which has been witnessed particularly, but not exclusively, in North America. Girls' social aggression - which involves social exclusion, damaging social status, and harming friendships - is the focus of Marion K. Underwood's piece (see record 2004-17434-004). In another article, Don E. Merten (see record 2004-17434-002) examines girls' attempts to manage the conflicting demands of the desire to be popular and the desire to maintain close friendships by exploring one girl's efforts to resist the lure of popularity. Steve Bean, Beth Meyer and Jill Denner (see record 2004-17434-007) explore the ways in which situational demands on girls to be either competitive in sports or autonomous leaders respectively, complicates girls' attempts to develop cooperative friendships. Context is also key to Kimberley A. Scott's (see record 2004-17434-006) challenging and provocative discussion of the development (or otherwise) of friendships between Black and White girls. Here, she refers to the broader social, cultural and political contexts which impact on friendship development in specific ways. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Contends that psychologists should continue to study gender differences (GDs) with some guidelines. It is argued that the media will continue to publicize the findings of these studies, so guidelines should be established so that the study of GDs will be carried out in a manner that meets the highest standards of science and at the same time is not detrimental to women. Six problems with existing research are discussed: publication bias, unreplicated findings of GDs, failure to report effect sizes, interpretation of GDs as female deficits, findings of GDs can be used in a manner harmful to women, and interpreting GDs as being due to biological factors. The suggested guidelines for nonsexist research address these problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Introduces review articles for N. Chodorow's text The Reproduction of Mothering (1978; TRM). By drawing on certain ideas from psychoanalytic theory, Chodorow has extended feminist's range of resources for theorizing about the relationship between the individual and the social. Like many feminists in the 1970s, Chodorow wanted to understand the reasons why changing heterosexual parenting and gendered subjectivity was so difficult. In TRM she was interested in why women wanted not only to continue to have children but also to mother exclusively. Chodorow offers a thorough critique of the gender bias inherent in much psychoanalytic thinking, and turns to ideas from British object relations theory to analyze how elements of social structures are unconsciously internalized. Object relations theory also states that the infant's relationship with the pre-Oedipal mother holds the some importance as the later Oedipal relationship with the father. These factors encouraged Chodorow to explore two areas of gendered development: the polarized dynamics of heterosexual differences and the connected dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship. The extract from TRM focuses on the latter issue, although the reviews that follow address a range of important points spanning the two areas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that heterosexuality (HST) has been untheorized within feminism and psychology and that it deserves analytic attention. HST is assumed, but never explicitly addressed, and the overt and covert violence with which compulsory HST is forced on women is obscured. Issues addressed include definitions of HST, comparison of HST and lesbianism, ego-dystonic HST, politics of the erotic, and reconstructions of HST. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Comments on a special issue of Feminism & Psychology (1992 [Oct] Vol 2[3]) on heterosexuality, arguing that the absence of discourse on heterosexual women's desires, satisfactions, and pleasures in sexual relationships with men is due to the influence of radical feminism. The theoretical and political weaknesses of radical feminist analyses of sexuality stem from an inadequate conceptualization of power and signification in sexual practices. A poststructuralist, psychodynamic analysis is offered which conceptualizes the personal experiences of a heterosexual woman. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Considers issue of power in relation to women with serious long-term mental health problems (LMHPs): women who are socially disabled and unable to cope with the tasks of everyday life without help and support. In addition to the disadvantages of LMHPs and social disablements, services downgrade women to 2nd-class citizens in a 2nd-class world. The stereotyping of women as passive, emotional, and childlike deprive them of access to the care they need. Psychologists must not avoid issues of power and add to their clients' problems under the guise of choice and giving responsibility to clients. They must avoid the denial of disability and take on issues of their power as service providers, including ways in which this power can be used. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Comments on P. Chesler's (1972) book Women and Madness. One of the book's most important contributions was to focus on the sources of madness in society, rather than to equate madness with the nature of women. Chesler transformed what was known about women in psychology and psychiatry and paved the way for future theory and research to determine how madness was put on women and why it was false to simply see women as manifesting madness. Chesler also emphasized that madness applies to all women when normality and mental health means "male." Chesler argued that women must unlearn identification with a system that destroys and depresses them and take on a set of values where they can find self-realization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discussed the process of psychological changes that occur in midlife women based on interviews and observations of 80 women (aged 40–55 yrs). 65% of the Ss were American and 35% were British. Some were in the process of divorce, some did not have children, some were single, some had very young children, and some had grown children. Four different categories were constructed: traditional, innovative, expansive, and protestors. Every developmental phase involved some instances of a failure to negotiate the challenges of this phase. With the exceptions of 7 Ss who suffered from a "stalled" development, the study strongly supports the existence of a phenomenon sometimes described as "postmenopausal zest" in that the women over 50 speak more assertively, and assess themselves quite deliberately without reference to others' expectations and desires (though not without reference to others' needs) and experience increased energy to pursue new goals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This article offers a critical discursive analysis of contemporary media accounts of controversial New Zealand legislation designed to provide counselling and monetary compensation to sexual abuse victims/survivors. Analysis of newspaper texts from 2002 to 2005 located a heated debate, with opposition to and defense of the legislation. Opposition was articulated through strong emotional talk and perpetuation of a `big scam' discourse that positions sexual abuse survivors as potentially untrustworthy, fraudulent claimants. Counsellors/therapists are positioned as part of a predatory, money-hungry industry, which uses questionable practices to create false memories or reports of sexual abuse. The persuasive function served by this emotionally laden big scam discourse has a higher profile than arguments defending the legislation. The dominance of the big scam discourse arguably contributes to the suffering of sexual abuse survivors, more often women and children, by maintaining attention on authenticity and entitlement. Humanitarian attempts to address the deleterious effects of sexual abuse are undermined. Yes Yes
 
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Most critiques and commentaries concerning the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) focus on the expanding scope of the system, on particular categories of disorder, or on unwarranted claims about the biological bases of symptoms embedded in DSM descriptions. In contrast, this essay focuses on phenomenology, the subjective experiences of those supposedly being categorized by this whole framework. In addition to allowing us to see extreme states and unusual perceptions, thoughts, actions, and feelings with fresh eyes – from the perspective of the distressed person’s own categories and explanations – a phenomenological approach forces us to confront important ethical and political issues often ignored in discussions of diagnosis and treatment. Feminist psychologists in particular need to think more deeply about these issues, to avoid taking untenable moral positions and violating core assumptions about the right to define one’s own experience.
 
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Research has demonstrated that heterosexual men receive enhanced health benefits from their relationships with women. Explanations for this gendered pattern often focus on women's role as the main caregivers and arrangers of health care. However, what remains unclear is how these benefits are mediated. In this article, we describe the micropolitics evident in negotiations between 12 heterosexual couples as they discuss the serious illness of one of the pair with an interviewer. The interviews were transcribed and subsequently analysed using a synthetic approach to discursive psychology. We argue that in these co-constructed stories, women potentially trouble men's identity performances. For instance, by interjecting emotional assessments, women supporters allow men the opportunity to discuss aspects of the illness experience that might be otherwise viewed as at odds with hegemonic masculinity. We suggest that women's positioning of men is a form of complicity with hegemonic masculinity and urge that further research should follow this line of enquiry.
 
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While much research has addressed negativity surrounding women’s menstruation, surprisingly little research has interrogated the relationship between menstruation and sexuality. This study used inductive thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with 40 women across a range of age, race and sexual orientation backgrounds to examine women’s experiences with sex during menstruation. Results showed that, while 25 women described negative reactions — and two described neutral reactions — 13 women described positive reactions to menstrual sex. Negative responses cohered around four themes: women’s discomfort and physical labor to clean ‘messes’, overt partner discomfort, negative self-perception and emotional labor to manage partner’s disgust. Positive responses cohered around two themes: physical and emotional pleasure from sex while menstruating, and rebellion against anti-menstrual attitudes. Notable race and sexual identity differences appeared, as white women and bisexual or lesbian-identified women described positive feelings about menstrual sex more than women of color or heterosexual women. Bisexual women with male partners described more positive reactions to menstrual sex than did heterosexual women with male partners, implying that heterosexual identity related to negative menstrual sex attitudes more than heterosexual behavior. Those with positive menstrual sex attitudes also enjoyed masturbation more than others. Implications for sexual identity and racial identity informing body practices, partner choice affecting women’s body affirmation, and women’s resistance against common cultural ideas about women’s bodies as ‘disgusting’ were addressed.
 
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Most considerations of daughtering and mothering take for granted that the subjectivities of mothers and daughters are negotiated in contexts of physical proximity throughout daughters’ childhoods. Yet many mothers and daughters spend periods separated from each other, sometimes across national borders. Globally, an increasing number of children experience life in transnational families. This paper examines the retrospective narratives of four women who were serial migrants as children (whose parents migrated before they did) . It focuses on their accounts of the reunion with their mothers and how these fit with the ways in which they construct their mother-daughter relationships. We take a psychosocial approach by using a psychoanalytically-informed reading of these narratives to acknowledge the complexities of the attachments produced in the context of migration and to attend to the multi-layered psychodynamics of the resulting relationships. The paper argues that serial migration positioned many of the daughters in a conflictual emotional landscape from which they had to negotiate ‘strangerhood’ in the context of sadness at leaving people to whom they were attached in order to join their mothers (or parents). As a result, many were resistant to being positioned as daughters, doing daughtering and being mothered in their new homes.
 
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This paper analyses online texts concerning the supposed ‘rules’ and ‘etiquette’ of heterosexual casual sex, exploring how ‘ideal’ casual sex was constructed – as object and practice. We examine how casual sex was constituted by authors who positioned themselves as knowledgeable and/or expert in relation to casual sex and demonstrate the discourses that their accounts drew on in constructing archetypal casual sex. Our analysis is situated within feminist/critical theorising and debates regarding the institution of heterosexuality and, in particular, construction of monogamy as ‘ideal’ when it comes to heterosexual relationships. We argue that casual sex was constituted as not a natural act through the specific instructions of how to ‘do casual sex right’. We outline the construction of an attraction imperative in relation to casual sex, its hierarchies of respectability, and address what an analysis about casual sex tells us about contemporary heterosexuality. This paper demonstrates that although casual sex could possibly offer an alternative to the currently pervasive mononormativity, it fails to provide this in accounts of ‘ideal’ casual sex as relayed in the public arena.
 
Top-cited authors
Carol Gilligan
  • New York University
Lyn Mikel Brown
  • Colby College
Celia Kitzinger
  • Cardiff University
Rosalind Gill
  • City, University of London
Christine Griffin
  • University of Bath