Study Guide

Jacques Lacan - Feminists for Lacan

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Feminists for Lacan

Look, Freud did a lot of damage in the relationship between psychoanalysis and feminists, so this group has a lot of catching up to do. There's definitely an uphill battle on the whole phallocentrism and paternal metaphor thing, but they're up for the challenge. Not only have they promoted all of the ways that Lacanian psychoanalysis was more feminist friendly, but they also welcome new members to do a trial run with no sign-up fees for six months. They're all about the incentives because having the feminists on their side can make a huge difference in using psychoanalysis to analyze patriarchal society and to root out the various oppressions of women.

Juliet Mitchell


This dame really goes out on a limb in support of the cause. Because she's a notable British feminist, Mitchell stole the limelight by claiming that rejecting psychoanalysis is a bad move for feminism. This story ends sadly though, because Mitchell ultimately bails on Lacan and goes off with Melanie Klein.

Jacqueline Rose

Manifesto Maker

She and Mitchell co-wrote what kind of became the group's manifesto: Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the Freudian School. Women love the book's discussion of "the gaze" and of just how tough it is to be a woman.

Luce Irigaray

Reluctant Member

Not having Luce in a group on feminism and psychoanalysis is like having hot chocolate without whipped cream. What's the point? But Luce is not a follower—she had ideas of her own (typical feminist). Yet even when she left Lacan in the dust, she was still inspired my his teachings. (That's loyalty.) She attends all of the meetings, but everyone gets really sweaty palms when she raises her hand to put in her two cents.

Julia Kristeva

Reluctant Member #2

It's a little hard for our guy to swallow the fact that Julia never attends any of Lacan's seminars, but he's still glad that she joined this group. She and Luce don't agree on much, but when it comes to the subject of masculinizing human subjectivity, they're like two hens on a piece of corn. Julia refuses to believe that men or women are just born that way. As for Julia and Lacan, well, they only really intersect on the notion that the pre-mirror stage is when the baby is all prelinguistic instinct.

Simone de Beauvoir

Godmother of Feminism

Simone's a calming presence. This clique isn't super tight, but just having her as a member really makes Lacan look good. And hey, she's nothing if not honest: she really doesn't dig psychoanalysis, but she still likes the mirror phase and uses it in her account of female development—which means a lot.

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