Showing posts with label Freud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freud. Show all posts

December 28, 2022

Is it time for a female president? If Republicans or men prevail the answer is no.

Is it time for a female president? If Republicans or men prevail the answer is no.
by Hal Brown 
The slogan and ads  for Virginia Slims probably sold a lot of cigarettes, but it is interesting to note that the use of the word "baby" smacks of male chauvinism. The word "lady" could just as easily have been used. It also show bias because it reads "you've come a long way, baby" rather than simply "we've come a long way." Below you will find some of my Freudian political analysis but even the word "long" could have been chosen by advertisers of the time who were steeped in depth psychology to unconsciously appeal to women. Here's a review of The Hidden Persuaders.

Susan Page, who wrote a USA article yesterday, was on Morning Joe this morning discussing 

In search of the perfect president: What Americans say they want, from age to gender

She was discussing the results of a recent poll about what Americans want in a president This is the portion that, while it didn't surprise me at all, it did pique my interest because it verified what I would have predicted (my emphasis added):

Is it time for a female president? 

Maybe not.

Most voters, a 55% majority, volunteered that gender doesn't matter. That would be news to Hillary Clinton and other female candidates, who believe they encountered political headwinds because of their sex. 

For a significant number of Americans, the Oval Office remains a man's world. Overall, those who expressed a preference chose a man over a woman as ideal by more than 2-1, 28%-12%. 

Among Republicans, 50% said the ideal president would be male while a negligible 2% said she would be female. In contrast, Democrats with a preference chose a woman over a man by 2-1, 24%-11%.

Political independents were the most likely to say gender doesn't matter. Nearly two-thirds, 63%, volunteered that view. 

Is there a gender gap on gender? 

Among those voters with a preference, men by 8-1 preferred a male president over a female one, 32%-4%. Women were somewhat more likely to prefer a male president as well, 25%-19%.  

 I think in writing "maybe not" above, Susan Page was being optimistic. I would have written "probably not" and perhaps added that if Republicans and men had their say we won't have a woman as president in the foreseeable future.

I was trained as a psychoanalytically oriented therapist and then practiced psychodynamically informed though eclectic psychotherapy for 40 years. I often channel Freud when I try to understand behavior, beliefs, opinions, and such.

When it comes to the opinion of the men as to whether they'd be comfortable with having a woman as president one term comes to mind. It is castration anxiety. This is  is a psychoanalytic concept introduced by Sigmund Freud to describe a boy's fear of loss of or damage to the genital organ as punishment for incestuous wishes toward the mother and murderous fantasies toward the rival father.

We can put it less graphically as, say, fears of emasculation, or even less so, feeling threatened by having smart, competent, and confident women in power because it makes them feel diminished.

In Freudian theory, the female counterpart of castration anxiety is penis envy. Both concepts are now quite controversial with the later being the subject of considerable debate and attempts at debunking not only in Freud's time but especially during the Women's Lib era.

The saddest part of this poll, again not a surprise, is that women who had a preference were somewhat more likely to prefer a male president as well, 25%-19% While a 6% difference may seem insignificant to me it suggests that while since the chauvinistic 1950's, while women have come a long way, there are still many many adult women in the United States who I think have a serious self-esteem problem.

Consider the numbers: There are about 108 million women over the age of 18 in the United States. Six percent of that is about 6.5 million. My hunch is that the under 50 years of age demographic of those with a preference would rather have a female president with a much higher percentage the even younger adult women.

The poll doesn't separate middle-of-the-road and never-Trump Republicans from MAGA and far right Republicans. I think the further to the right one is the more they have a belief that men are superior to women.

I don't have polling date to confirm my, hopefully educated, hunches, but my sense is that Republican men are more likely to feel superior to women than Democrat and Independent men. I think that women married to the Republican men who have chauvinistic beliefs are more likely to have low self-esteem. 


You can read more about castration anxiety here:


Just for the hell of it, now that I have my new MacBook Pro I can make images again. Here's what I just made to post on my Mastodon page.

Click to enlarge:

This is from the scene in which the spaceship hits the Moon's eye from Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès 1902 film "A Trip to the Moon" would go on to become one of the most iconic images in cinematic history. Musk has made history by being the man in the moon who sent a rocket of his making into his own eye.

December 3, 2022

Pot and psilocybin mushrooms in Oregon

 Pot and psilocybin mushrooms in Oregon
by Hal Brown

Two slightly related stories caught my eye on the website of a local Portland area TV station. Once I started writing about them my mind wandered far afield to cover other subjects.

Former employee reveals details about Shroom House’s operation

The use of psilocybin mushrooms will be legal in Oregon next year but apparently they are available now - the article concludes:

“I’ve never even seen this stuff before. So I’m trying,” said Scott Yon, a customer at Shroom House. “I understand it may not be legally up yet, but in Portland, it doesn’t seem like people get arrested for anything.”

Even though the Oregon Health Authority and police say this is not legal, the long lines seen outside the store show the simple economics of supply and demand.

I've considered trying psilocybin mushrooms once the clinics, where someone trained to help you navigate the experience will help you, to see what unexplored part of my mind was opened to my consciousness. 

Since the psychedelic era there were two groups (not mutually exclusive) of people who used LSD and similar substances. Some belonged to the "turn on, tune in, drop out" group, a term popularized by Timothy Leary, and the others wanted to discover more about themselves. Some eventually followers of Richard Alpert who was Leary's partner, who became Baba Ram Das, and led a movement aimed at spiritual enlightenment.

When I was in college during the height of hippie and counterculture psychedelic times (1963-1967) I knew lots of people in the former group. There was a people's park I often walked through at Michigan State where students camped out and got stoned. Reference. 

I have concluded that I don't want to take the risk of using psilocybin. I am leery of any substance that leads me to be out of control of where my mind goes. Once a psychoactive drug is in your brain there's no "off" switch. You have to ride out the experience.

I like to be able to embark on unstructured  mental journeys to see where my unconscious leads me, but I want to be able to exert some conscious control.

I have friends who meditate using one or another technique. Almost everyday I spend time just letting my mind wander freely. I am not sure whether this would be considered mediation but I like the experience.

Since my mid-teens I paid a lot attention to my dreams, what Freud called "the royal road to the unconscious" and in fact read two paperback books by Freud when I was in my teens. One was his "Introduction of Psychoanalysis" and the other was "The Interpretation of Dreams."
Karl Jung agreed and wrote that “the dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche.”

These readings led me to understand that there was much more to people, including myself, than they were aware of. This understanding always informed the kind of therapy I practiced for 40 years. I feel the crucial way therapy helps is the relationship between client and therapist, but that there are times with certain clients when it is helpful to facilitate insight into why they are distressed. 

The following article should be both cautionary and reassuring to those using cannabis, which is legal for recreational use in Oregon:

While I've tried high in CBD cannabis edibles to help sleep through the night I find that I don't like the effect that even the amount of THC, usually about a third, has on me. I makes my mind race and causes near hallucinatory images. I don't use any cannabis at all now, but I live in a senior community where many friends and acquaintances use it. If you visit any of the  560 + Oregon pot stores you will see customers ranging in age from 21 to 91 or older.  You will see hipsters looking for a better high to elders with bad hips relying on budmasters, the pot store version of your pharmacist, suggest varieties to help with different ailments.

It should be reassuring to cannabis users that the state is testing the products, but it seems to be common sense that anyone trying a new variety realize that the testing takes time to find contaminants so they need to make changes with caution.


Homelessness: Daytime nightmare about to unfold in Portland

  Public domain, Creative Commons.. By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist This is a classic case of municipal decision makers putting t...