Theories of Personality 9th Edition

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90 Part II Psychodynamic Theories

Masculine Protest

In contrast to Freud, Adler (1930, 1956) believed that the psychic life of women is
essentially the same as that of men and that a male-dominated society is not natural
but rather an artificial product of historical development. According to Adler, cultural
and social practices—not anatomy—influence many men and women to overempha-
size the importance of being manly, a condition he called the masculine protest.

Origins of the Masculine Protest

In many societies, both men and women place an inferior value on being a woman.
Boys are frequently taught early that being masculine means being courageous, strong,
and dominant. The epitome of success for boys is to win, to be powerful, to be on top.
In contrast, girls often learn to be passive and to accept an inferior position in society.
Some women fight against their feminine roles, developing a masculine ori-
entation and becoming assertive and competitive; others revolt by adopting a pas-
sive role, becoming exceedingly helpless and obedient; still others become resigned
to the belief that they are inferior human beings, acknowledging men’s privileged
position by shifting responsibilities to them. Each of these modes of adjustment
results from cultural and social influences, not from inherent psychic difference
between the two genders.

Adler, Freud, and the Masculine Protest

In the previous chapter we saw that Freud (1924/1961) believed that “anatomy is
destiny” (p. 178), and that he regarded women as the “ ‘dark continent’ for psychology”


Comparison of Safeguarding Tendencies with Defense Mechanisms

Adler’s Safeguarding Tendencies

  1. Limited mostly to the construction
    of a neurotic style of life

  2. Protect the person’s fragile self-
    esteem from public disgrace

  3. Can be partly conscious

  4. Common types include:
    A. excuses
    B. aggression
    (1) depreciation
    (2) accusation
    (3) self-accusation
    C. withdrawal
    (1) moving backward
    (2) standing still
    (3) hesitating
    (4) constructing obstacles

Freud’s Defense Mechanisms

  1. Found in everyone

  2. Protect the ego from the pain of

  3. Operate only on an unconscious

  4. Common types include:
    A. repression
    B. reaction formation
    C. displacement
    D. fixation
    E. regression
    F. projection
    G. introjection
    H. sublimation

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