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Psychology without Walls: Give a Woman an Inch, She’ll Take a Penis: Backlash and the fragility of privilege

01/23/2018 3:27 PM | Anonymous

Psychoanalysis without Walls

Give a Woman an Inch, She’ll Take a Penis:

Backlash and the fragility of privilege*

*Republished with Permission, from Public Seminar, Jan. 19th, 2018: http://www.publicseminar.org/2018/01/give-a-woman-an-inch-shell-take-a-penis/

On February 8, 2018, The New School will host an event entitled “Sexual Harassment and Assault: Eros, Power, Violation, and Consent.” Psychologist Jeremy Safran will moderate a panel featuring Lew Aron and Adrienne Harris from NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Katie Gentile from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Lisa Rubin and Ali Shames-Dawson from the New School for Social Research, who together will creatively engage the pressing ethical, political, and psychological questions arising from the #MeToo movement. This panel is meant to sketch — rather than answer — the most significant questions this moment brings to the fore, before transitioning into workshop style breakout groups. In the weeks leading up to the event, we will host contributions from the panelists, and we invite readers to submit responses via submissions@publicseminar. org and to participate in the event on February 8 ( Registration & More Details Here ). The event will not be filmed. Below is our first piece, from panelist and frequent Public Seminar contributor Katie Gentile.


The term “witch hunt” has been bandied about in the past few months to describe what, to some, has appeared to be the willy-nilly the take down of one after another man of power, supposedly by the accusations of women. Berlinski recently called it a warlock hunt that is more dangerous to women than the sexual predators themselves. Daphne Merkin’s New York Times Op-Ed described her fears that women, embolden by the #MeToo campaign, are creating an atmosphere of patronizing protectionism at best, a new form of censorship at worst. The recent letter signed by Catherine Deneuve and some other French actressesfurthered this point, equating sexual freedom with men’s “indispensable freedom to offend and bother” women as they wish. According to the letter, women need to learn to protect themselves to avoid what is termed a “Puritan” approach to sexuality. Deneuve, Berlinski, Merkin and other women, have taken issue with the #MeToo campaign and its conflation of experiences from rape to street harassment to awkward sexual advances. In these critiques, the women speaking out are becoming victimized children, unable to adequately contain male sexuality.

To read the full article, click here.

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