In the early 20th century Freud asserted revolutionary ideas: he normalized sexuality, and he spoke openly about sexuality with women. Before Freud, women were not viewed as sexual beings; they were mothers, daughters, and wives, but most people did not, or would not, acknowledge that women possess sexual desires, as well. Freud allowed people to accept sexuality as a normal and healthy part of life. However, despite his progressive ideas, Freud still stereotyped men and women. He granted that women were sexual beings, but in his case study on Dora, Freud assumes that women are either innocent and virginal or whores. Freud attributes strong, dominant characteristics to men, whereas he often illustrates women as weak and simple-minded. However, in his study on Dora, these gender stereotypes do not fit: while the men are powerful, they are also manipulative and selfish, and women, while less forceful, still possess traits, such as resistance and independence, that make them more autonomous than Freud admits or appreciates.
[...] While Frau K.'s behavior is less than kind, her actions are no less damaging than those of Herr K., and yet she is characterized in an extremely negative way. Freud does not truly consider why Frau K. detests her husband; he disregards Herr K.'s infidelity and his preoccupation with his work. Despite Herr K.'s malicious actions toward Dora, Freud still focuses on female stereotypes: all of the women in Dora are either manipulative, as seen in Freud's depiction of Frau K. [...]
[...] 78) In his analysis of Dora's emotions and motives, Freud fails to take into account that Dora felt betrayed and alone. Her father basically abandons her, Frau K. is no longer interested in her, and Herr K. makes crude suggestions toward her, and then lies about it. When Dora tells him her dreams, Freud finds a way to make them about her repressed sexuality. Instead of helping Dora work through her deep-seeded issues, such as loneliness, fear of abandonment, and insecurity, he forces his own theories onto her. [...]
[...] Freud oversimplifies Dora's response and the men's responsibility in it: he cannot comprehend why Dora would reject Herr K., so he hypothesizes that her repulsed response actually represents her love for him, while at the same time underplaying the trauma Dora faces because of her father's affairs and Herr K.'s lies. Dora has no one she can count on; the men in her life, while domineering, are unfaithful and essentially weak, and the women are not looking out for her well-being. [...]
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