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Feminism Or Penis Envy In Sex And The City English Literature Essay

894 words (4 pages) Essay in English Literature

5/12/16 English Literature Reference this

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Women’s views on relationships and sex have changed significantly since the 19th century. Women have become more open minded when it comes to dating, relationships and casual sex, and they aren’t likely to view sexual openness as something abnormal. The television series Sex and the City gives us a 21st century perspective on these issues via a group of single women living in Manhattan, NY. Samantha Jones, one of the main characters from the television series, is infamous for her blatant sexuality. Samantha is a strong, independent woman, with a successful career and high self-esteem. She is also extremely sexually active, sleeping with a great deal of men on a regular basis. To many women she seems to have it all, and her lifestyle is considered reasonably healthy. Sigmund Freud, however, would certainly see her life in a different light. Is her constant requirement for sexual contact just lenience towards her id, or does it go further than that, concerning her childhood development? With a central focus on the first series of Sex and the City, this paper will exercise Freudian analysis to psychoanalyze the character, Samantha Jones and her love of male genitals, especially pertaining to Freud’s psychosexual stages of development, and the id, ego, superego theories.

Little is known about Samantha’s childhood. The little information divulged to us in a couple of the shows is that from an early age she was flirting with boys and showing off her body. We do not know when she first became sexually active, but remnants of an inconsistency during the psychosexual stages are apparent. Samantha is in many visible ways a woman, with her expensive shoes, fancy clothing and feminine figure. However, it could be alleged that her lifestyle and mind-set is similar to that of a bachelor’s. She is focused on her career, enjoys a wildly spontaneous sex life, and has no desire to settle down or have children. Samantha rarely “falls in love” and when she does she is often less emotionally attached than the man in the relationship. Even her nickname, Sam, is essentially a man’s name, and she occasionally introduces herself as Sam Jones. There is a possibility that the phallic stage of Samantha’s childhood was disrupted, and that during this time her ideas of gender role were distorted in some way.

During the phallic stage of Samantha’s childhood it is also likely she suffered from an Electra complex. This could explain her complete disregard for her sexual partners’ feelings. Samantha never gets too close to someone she is sleeping with, and often throws them out right after intercourse (which most of the men are content with). If she did allow them become a bigger part of her life they might remind her too much of her father, and she may feel guilty and perverted. Instead, by degrading her sexual partners, she makes them less like her father (or a father figure) and more like a male prostitute (Barry 103). In the few relationships she does get involved in she often idealizes the men, placing them on a pedestal, and then is easily disappointed when they do not live up to her standards, leaving them high and dry. Perhaps this is because she does not want to find a man that reminds her of a good, male role model. A further possibility is that she is jealous of these men and their penises.

An additional remnant of the Electra complex is the acquisition of penis envy. When Samantha was a child it is possible that to make up for not having a penis she decided to strive towards a high-powered career where she could be the boss, instead of deciding to be a housewife, secretary, or some other job which is often associated with women. However, despite the fact that Samantha is a businesswoman, she is still very well aware that not having a penis can make it more difficult to be taken seriously in a male-oriented society. Although women are in many respects the equals of men, there is often an underlying prejudice when working in a business environment where men are superior in number. Therefore, even being a high powered businesswoman is not necessarily enough to satisfy her penis envy. She has some sort of incessant need to seek out every penis on the island of Manhattan to fill the void where she feels a penis should have been. Furthermore, she makes sure the men understand it is she that is taking advantage of them, and not the other way around, fulfilling her need to be the “man” in the situation.

Perhaps Samantha is merely the ultimate feminist, striving towards a life where women are in charge, and men are disposable. Or, maybe she really does have penis envy, and feels confused towards her sexual orientation, lacking something that should have been hers. Samantha Jones is surely not your typical woman. Her independence and reassuring feminism gives her a certain edge, an edge which Freud would have found abnormal for a woman to possess. Perhaps Samantha’s love for her father caused an aversion towards relationships with other men, but Samantha certainly does not dislike men. To the contrary, she loves them, but only for a couple of hours at a time.

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