Monday, April 19, 2010

What the HELL does this mean?

The Science Marches on Department sent me this remarkably confusing (and, in my opinion, bizarre) abstract from the Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association. Don't believe me? Here's the original.


The absence of the paternal penis.

“Girls’ experiences of object loss, in conjunction with female anatomical structure, may lend themselves to a particular genital anxiety regarding openness and emptiness. The relational void in giving up the mother as love object may lead to an internal self-representation of a “hole” to be filled, much as the mouth sucks the pacifier in the absence of the nipple. This image may then be extended to the genital representation. In turning to the father, a girl may find that she lacks a relationship with him in the relational space opened up by the loss of the mother; the penis is symbolically withheld from her in the father’s relational distance. This lack of sexual and relational gratification, it is proposed, may be schematized by a female as her body being empty of something. The father’s absence–the absence of the paternal penis–may lead to an absence of the mental representation of the vagina and to an inhibition of the role the vagina then plays for a woman in sexual desire. Vaginal repression may serve to disguise object hunger that might otherwise be experienced as vaginal longing. An abbreviated clinical vignette, revolving around a masturbatory fantasy, is offered in partial illustration of the thesis.”

50 comments:

A Doc 2 Be said...

Long live Freud fans?

eee gad.

Emily C said...

How on earth is "object loss" at all related to one's father's penis? Or to an "internal self-representation of a hole"???
Surely this paper has more to do with men's conception of women's vaginas as "holes" or "lack of a penis", which the average woman finds laughable. I sure do!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Yeah, it's surprising that this was published as recently as 1998. This is Freudian type stuff from the early 20th century.

Anonymous said...

"Jeanette will now demonstrate the thesis, set to loud music."

Jess said...

Vaginal longing? Sounds like the theme for a transvestite convention.

Old MD Girl said...

So, what he's saying is that the woman should just have sex with her father, and then she will feel better. Right?

Anonymous said...

seems to explain both frigid and horny. how universal. tell cern they can shut down. everything is solved.

Cthulhu Sashimi said...

Is there an English translation available somewhere?

bb said...

Whoever wrote that needs serious help -- they have a very strange fixation. Surely there's some neurology type of medication you could prescribe as they surely need it -- DESPERATELY! Heck, prescribe some strong pain medication to dull that weird imagination that the writer possesses.

What the hell does loss of "object" have to do with a father's penis? OY YOI YOI!

The New Grad said...

I'm confused...

Anonymous said...

it all makes sense now...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a neofreudian is trying the explain the electra complex (like the oedipus complex but for girls). As others have said, theories like this aren't taken seriously by sane members of the field of psychology, although I'd like to know why the American Psychoanalytical Association thought this was worthy enough to publish.

Rusty Hoe said...

Well alrighty then. It's all so clear now. So does that mean that vaginas should be prescribed tequila shots to overcome their repression?

I personally love that not only did this make sense to the author but also to the reviewers who screened it before publication.

Claire said...

Dear Freud and freud fans,

When I was a little kid and I saw that boys had a penis where I had a vagina, I didn't think, "Oh no!! I lost something and it broke off, and I shall NEVER BE WHOLE AGAIN!!" I thought, "Oh my, that's a weird and disgusting growth you've got going on there!" Women don't go around with gaping-open vaginas all the time, thinking about how much happier they'd be with a penis. Seriously.

Love,
a gal

Silicone Momma said...

Wait...what?

Anonymous said...

So this woman managed to turn a masturbatory fantasy into a scientific journal paper? I think of all the papers I could have published as a teenager, and I weep.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I'm a librarian. I'm going to use this paper as an example of a refereed paper in my next class, psychology or not! (Who am I kidding? I bet it was "approved" by the referees just to get the damn thing off their desks.) Shudder.

wv: dingu "a dingu stole my ..er.. penis!"

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like this pervert is trying to encourage incest...

Flavius said...

How would I get in on a research trial study for this?

Academic curiosity and all...

-Flavius

Memune said...

It means the author desperately needed to publish something and threw a whole bunch of words together, hoping that no one would notice she hadn't a clue what her word salad meant or was supposed to mean. Luckily for the author, the review committee assumed that she was on to something deeply profound and was too embarrassed to admit they didn't "get it."

Shades of the Sokal affair!

Ladyk73 said...

So those fruadulant freudian fools refuse to give up the penis-envy BS.

I just love how you can publish a peer-reviewed article without it being evidence based...

love it...lets rebirth a bratty kid now...

Miss Kismet said...

This sounds like a creepy justification for father-daughter incest. Seriously, "absence of the paternal penis?" Some hot shot lawyer will attempt to use this as a defense in court.

=/

donna said...

Sounds like a really bad acid
trip or flashback to me! Mostly
though comes from the WTF moment!

Anonymous said...

What? Wait a minute...WHAT? Did someone actually get paid for producing that mush? Or, God forbid, perhaps have more grant money thrown in their direction for producing such rambling crapola? *sigh*

The Mother said...

Yeah, I read that. It's a bunch of psychosocial gobbledygook, and I'm inclined to agree with Memune on this one--someone was intimidated enough by the high-fallutin' language that they didn't laugh uproariously and toss it in the circular file.

As the proud owner of a vagina, and massive lack of penis, I have to say I have NEVER had a speck of penis envy. Or a feeling that I have a massive gaping hole in my psyche.

Now, the urinary sphincter envy...

snarkysocialworker said...

Not to be a stickler, but while Freud was the grandfather of psychoanalytic thought, Melanie Klein, Fairburn and Winnicott were the forefounders of object relations theory. This article was clearly written from an object relations theory standpoint (albeit a flawed bad one), which diverges from Freud (senior and Anna) in a number of ways.

that said, I think Melanie Klein would be rolling over in grave to see this abomination... most object relations theory i've read was much more complex than resolving a masturbatory fantasy about a young girl internalizing her absence of emotional connection with her father and assuming that leads to anxiety about her absence of a penis... sigh....

and before you say all object relations is as bad as Freud.... without it, all mothers would still be blamed for their schizophrenic children; children would never get play therapy; mothers would never be "good enough" and we would not have spawned attachment theory

Kalieris said...

It means that some of the people who write psychology papers are really fucked up.

Anonymous said...

snark- mothers should be blamed for their children. children should not play. mothers have never been good enough. what is attatchment theory?

Anonymous said...

Heartily agreeing with Memune. A bunch of words, in no particular order, maybe two words that sort of sound like they should go together in a sentence tossed in here and there to pass the electronic eye of the reviewer. One would think in a review that the gist would be a little more evident.

People actually read this shit? said...

I'm also inclined to agree with Memune (& The Mother)on this one.

'Tho, "Vaginal Repression" sounds like it would make a great (not to mention apropos) name for an Emo band.

"Paternal Penis," hmmm, not much pop band name potential there. Maybe a string quartet or a modern dance company.

terri c said...

Add one to the count of women who never felt penis envy. What a load of hogwash!

Feistess said...

Upcoming season of RuPaul's Drag Race?

John Woolman said...

The problem with psychoanalysis is that it is explanation after the event. Science is prediction before the event. And I keep wondering why it is that some doctors and nurse with the same knowledge base as their peers and the same cognitive ability have much more of a healing touch.

I have known some practitioners of nonsense based systems of medicines/healing who do seem to be much better at the practice of triviatrics, the care of short lived self limiting disease that still makes you miserable whilst you have got it, than those whose practice is firmly grounded in science. The problem is when they start to practice non-triviatrics.

I want the best of both worlds, a science based practitioner who also has, for want of a better word, the healing touch.

RxKerBer said...

i have no articulate response....all I can say is WTF??? And I agree with OldMDGirl....are we all supposed to sleep with our fathers?

Mark said...

While it doesn't the entire scope of and loss, some are a fact of emotional distance.... PENIS

MistressMorgan said...

You know, I don't recall ever thinking about my dad's penis (or my mom's vag...or mine, for that matter)when my parents got divorced. Does this mean that I need therapy?

Rothase said...

Does anyone else have that "Detachable Penis" song now stuck in their heads?

Threeundertwo said...

This is why I never got into med school. I read this as meaning a girl should sleep with her father.

Pharmd Biker said...

sounds like justification for pedophilia to me

Swami Dil said...

Wow.......that was profound...and brilliant!!!
WTF?

Wayne Conrad said...

This is a put-on, one of those intentionally silly papers submitted to show that peer review isn't worth diddly-squat when the subject is inherently nonsensical. Right?

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a Psychology student (can't remember how advanced) who had to do a work up on a patient. Despite her best efforts at padding, her paper still wasn't long enough. In desperation, she turned to Sherlock holmes and included a long quote from each chapter of his books,and inserted them into her paper until she had the requisite length. She got an "A", and her teachers marveled at her insights into her patient's mind.

JoAnna said...

I went to the abstract at the link and clicked on the author's name. Wow. You should get a load of some of the other stuff she's written. Methinks someone has issues...

(Ha! My verification word was "cillhors"!)

hannah said...

Psychoanalysis is becoming trendy again in the US and never really went away in parts of Europe. (Well, I guess if you have the money to see a therapist 4-5x a week!)

During my last hospitalization, I was actually given the ink blot and thematic appreciation tests by a resident. Who then suggested that I might benefit from psychoanalysis. ;)

Abbie said...

Wow... even if this were a valid psychological discovery, this is a TERRIBLE abstract. I'd have bonged it if I were the reviewer.

k said...

I think it sounds like a randomly-generated paper. There are applications that can string together "smart-sounding phrases" and use grammatical rules to make something that might make sense to *someone* if they skim it, but really doesn't make sense at all if you read carefully. I forget who did this, but I think a group of students purposefully submitted a generated paper to a conference that always happens to be held right by Disneyworld. I get emails from that conference every year asking me essentially to organize a session of papers in whatever it is that I research (they don't care--I think they just want registration fees).

student dr. blaze said...

are you fcking kidding me?! first, anyone who puts 'father' and 'girl's vagina' in the same sentence needs to be put in the psych ward, because nobody randomly thinks of putting those two things together. second, i wish i could send this to everyone at my alma mater. they'd have a field day with this sh!t (it's a women's college). penis envy is a concept freud thought up because he was jealous he didn't have a vagina.

to think this paper came from a woman?! un-fcking believable. and my word verification (i kid you not!) is 'fable'. that sums it all up.

Sigmoid Freud said...

Hmmm... I clearly went to the wrong program for residency. If I ever talked to one of my patients about their masturbation fantasies (let alone wrote a paper about it) I would have not only gotten booted from my program, but also had my license suspended (and rightfully so).

Louis said...

I'm going cross-eyed reading that,,,and my head hurts.

SpecialK said...

OK so as a new reader I've been trying to catch up with your past blogs. Ok.

Let me get this straight...

"...much as the mouth sucks the pacifier in the absence of the nipple"

Makes sense in the case where child does not breast feed... which is/was/should be(?) fairly common/natural/whatever.


But is this article implying that the father's penis is somehow involved in the raising of a daughter???!?!?!?!? And in the absence of that... part... she feels vaginally repressed?

What the fuck?

And no father's naked penis should ever be near his daughter.

 
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