Freud's Displacement In Dora`s Case And Judith Butler's ``Gender Trouble``

Essay, 2000

9 Pages, Grade: A


Final Paper

Class: Feminist Theory Teacher: Dianne Rothleder Student: Wiebke Boetefuer

Freud’s Displacement In Dora`s Case And Judith Butler’s ``Gender Trouble``

In this essay it will be showed how Freud interpreters displacement in one of his cases. Further, he sees homosexuality as pathological. With that, he stands in contrast with Butler as this essay will show. What is displacement? Displacement is if one thing displaces another, it forces the other thing out of its place, position or role, and than occupies that place, position or role itself. Freud mainly sees desires and emotions displaced.

For Freud displacement is elementary in human life and result out of the experiences of loss and unfulfilled desire. The infant learns in the first moment of life that his/er desires will not always be fulfilled. S/he learns that desire has to be controlled and suppressed. Emotions and desires can not be felt in an original way. They are depressed by cultural customs and get transferred or displaced. This displacement can occur in ways, which are not related to the cause on the first and obvious spot. For example, the experience of being let alone as toddler, without the possibility to reach the mother gets displaced in biting fingernails. The anger about the loss, about the other gets transformed in auto-aggression.

Furthermore, the infant has to cope with the lost of the nipple or with the lost of her/is first love object, the mother. That makes all women to homosexuals in first place. This homosexuality has to be suppressed in Freud’s Heterosexual Matrix. Also, it seems that Freud does not make a distinction between sexual love and mother-(brother etc) love. That means the lost of the nipple, is the lost of the first

sexual stimulating object. Therefore, the baby tries to replace his/her sucking in a mother direction in other words, the mother gets displaces.

In the theory of Freud the female sex is incomplete. She is the castrate of the real sex, the man. ``...the little girl is first a little boy, actively desiring her mother in the preoedipal period. When she recognize her lack- the penis she must have to gain her mother’s love- she turns with hostility from her mother, represses her inappropriately phallic desire, takes her father as love object and is thrust into the feminine position (Bernheimer[1], p.28.)``. How can be a girl be a boy? (I will come back to this question later) But how could girls in Freud’s society figure out that they are incomplete? Where could they see naked kids or adults? Would they not more likely see the father as uncompleted, which has no obvious sex organs, missing the breathed? Or was his society not as bluestocking as history use to tell us and Focault, with his believe about the un-prude bourgeoisie society is right? Freud impute all women a desire for a penis. Out of this penis envy the girl rejects her mother and turns to the father. This includes the rescue of the girl from her homosexuality. The original desire is displaced. Also, the desire after the nipple has to be transferred. Again, this displacement, in the theory of Freud, occurs in different ways not directly related to the cause. As result, the mother gets not only associate with a passive loss, out of stopping breathed feeding; also the mother gets active rejected, out of her incompleteness. That means, in early childhood, the mother gets twice related with negative associations and experiences.

In Dora`s case[2], Freud does not only diagnosis a hysteria out of the cause of displacement, he also diagnosis bisexuality. The 19 years old Dora lives with her patents in one house. The mother seems to play a minor role in Doras life. She is characterize with a very strong drive to clean the bourgeois house. Dora`s family lives a strong friendship to the K since years. While her father has a strong relationship to Frau K., which Dora interpreted as love-relationship, Herr K. is turned to Dora. Freud interpreted her case as Dora being in love with Frau and Herr K. and with her father. It accurse that Dora takes the love to her mother and transfers it to Frau K. Herr K. kisses Dora once when she is 14. She feels disgust and turns from Herr K. Freud diagnose Dora with hysteria. In his opinion Dora`s disgust of being kissed by Herr K. is for Freud an ill reaction. ``Instead of the genital sensation which would certainly have been felt by a healthy girl in such circumstances, Dora was overcome by the unpleasurable feeling which is proper to the tract of mucous membrane at the entrance to the alimentary canal- that is disgust`` (Freud, p.22).


[1] Bernheimer, Charles ; Kahane, Claire; In Dora`s Case; Columbia University Press.

[2] Freud, Sigmund; In Dora`s Case; New York;1997.

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Freud's Displacement In Dora`s Case And Judith Butler's ``Gender Trouble``
University of Illinois at Chicago
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Freud, Displacement, Dora`s, Case, Judith, Butler, Trouble``
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Wiebke Bötefür (Author), 2000, Freud's Displacement In Dora`s Case And Judith Butler's ``Gender Trouble``, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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