Benjamin’s Gender and Power Theory

Jessica Benjamin argues that subjectivity and power come from individuality separated from the mother and father traits. Benjamin puts to light recent shifts in psychoanalytic theory and their relevance relating to individuality. As Freud’s theory on individuality suggests, boys growing up will recognize their anatomical differences from their mothers and identify with the father, while girls will never understand their own subjectivity in terms of difference from the mother.

As Jessica suggests, individuality is a balance of separation and connectedness rather than solely being decided by class, gender, etc. The primary focus of Benjamin’s writing is not about love but about power; she focuses on love to an extent as its perversion leads to domination and submission. She mainly argues that women seek ideal love more than men, in turn, making them more vulnerable to deception. The male is the subject, and the female is the object at the root of domination.

2 thoughts on “Benjamin’s Gender and Power Theory

  1. SOPHIA P

    I also took away a lot about power more than love from Benjamin. What I found most insightful was the part about finding your identity in yourself and not through what you aren’t or what other people are.

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