Form and Content
Created by one of a group of women who were struggling to formulate a theory and practice of feminist therapy in the early 1970’s, Jean Baker Miller’s Toward a New Psychology of Women affirms a distinctly female psychology. Because men dominate in society, Miller contends that a woman’s way of being has been forced underground and, if it is seen at all, has been highly suspect. She claims that psychoanalysis, in its attempt to probe the depths of the human mind, has unearthed this domain of suppressed qualities that are, essentially, the feminine psyche.
Toward a New Psychology of Women is composed of three sections. In part 1, Miller argues that the male-female relationship is predicated on inequality. This fundamental inequality between men and women is not unlike the sociological imbalances of power found between races, religions, nationalities, and classes. The dynamic of domination-subordination demands that the subordinate group’s identity be constructed around the dominant group’s perceptions and needs. The male-dominated culture has deemed certain human potentials more valuable than others and has shunted the “less desirable” qualities onto women.
Part 2 develops the theme that these very characteristics relegated to women which seem to be weaknesses are, in fact, strengths that hold the potential for an advanced way of living. Qualities such as vulnerability, weakness, caretaking, dependency, and...
(The entire section is 522 words.)