ANALYSIS AND ACTIVISM: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY: Jung for/with Feminism? the Gendered Imagination in twentyfirst century Jungian Studies

Jung for/with Feminism? the Gendered Imagination in twentyfirst century Jungian Studies Drawing from The Collected Works as well as The Red Book with some unlikely parallels in 21st century writing by women, my talk will consider if there is anything
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  1 Jung for/with Feminism? The Gendered Imagination and Jung’s Infamous QuoteSusan RowlandWho is speaking? The anima has an erotic, emotional character, the animus a rationalising one. Hence most of what men say about feminine eroticism, and particularly about the emotional life of women, is derived from their own anima projections and distorted accordingly. On the other hand, the astonishing assumptions and fantasies that women make about men come from the activity of the animus, who produces an inexhaustible supply of illogical arguments and false explanations. (ung, !"#$%!"$&, '!)* para. ++-'. . ung was not a feminist if by that we mean a straightforward supporter of gender e/uity. 0et the above /uotation is a delightful example of just how non1straightforward his writing can  be. 2ndeed as 2 shall argue in this paper, his writing provides material for a rich development of the complexities surrounding the term 3feminism,4 3marginali5ation4 and even 3activism.4 ung4s writing is tricky. These trickster words are both wounding and productive in challenging what is, and is not, 3feminism.4 6or example, here these three sentences take different gendered positions.6rom the lofty ungendered (because disembodied-, pronouncing of unassailable concepts that theanima is erotic and the animus rationali5ing, the second sentence takes the perspective of a man looking at women. The anima, as inner feminine unconscious other of a man, distorts the male view of women. 7o far so feminist.8nd then, who is speaking9 ho spouts the ludicrously unbalanced and unsubstantiated claim about women4s annoying babbling9 :y the logic of ung4s own words, it is not the noble male ego but rather his anima who is speaking. 7o what is the internal relation of this author4s inner creatures9 ;oes the anima momentarily push rationali5ing ego aside or does the trickster calmly decide to play a trick on the reader in order to  show what anima distortion actually looks like9 2sthe irrational anima rationally deployed to demonstrate the argument that the anima messes with the sober male authorial voice9 e cannot know what ung 3intended4 the reader to understand, which brings us to the problem of legitimacy in interpretation. 6or a moment 2 want to leave the matter of indeterminacy in writing, which matters ,   for the related topic of legitimacy of speaking for, or about feminism. 8s a white, middleclass and relatively privileged woman, 2 have received all the benefits of a century of feminist activism while having contributed little. 2 am also not an analyst while being asked to speak on ung and feminism to a conference named <8nalysis and 8ctivism.= 8s a teacher of adults taking degrees, 2 find little liveliness in the term, 3feminism4 in my students. 0et women, often but not always, women of colour, are still systematically disadvantaged all over the planet. hat has happened tofeminism that has lost its collective bite and who can speak for it9  2 One of the essential aspects of ungian ideas is his (sometimes reluctant- commitment to the margins, whether these are the liminal margins of consciousness or the social margins where despised shadow and  feminine /ualities   reside.   8s neither analyst nor activist perhaps ung directs me to the margins of my own role as a teacher of women and men9 here 2 do not teach  but am rather taught9 here 2 listen to voices who want to be heard in such marginal, undocumented, even secret fashion9 6or it is in these margins of what is not 3official4 educational practice that women and a very few men have come to talk to me over the years about rape. >ape happens more than is recorded by crime statistics and the operations of the law courts. Often students 2 did not actually teach, they wanted me to hear their stories and accept them. ?ven today, working with older students, it is a surprise, and yet not a surprise, how many women are rape survivors. 6eminism 3comes up4 in the classroom in the teaching of literature and of ungian psychology. :ecause 2 wrote  Jung: A Feminist Revision (#@@#-, 2 am fre/uently asked, usually with a sense of incredulity* 7usan, why are you a  feminist  9= hat really needs addressing is that gap between feminism4s ideals and the student4s tone suggesting that it is a character flaw to be still obsessed with such distant history. 7o 2 say, <2 am a feminist because two women a week in my country are killed by their domestic partners, usually men.= 8t this moment, the men in the room look surprised and the women look interested. Of course men beating up women is a criminal issue just as rape is. hat is a  feminist issue is that unspoken social and gender assumptions permit the ubi/uity of both crimes and the difficulty of prosecuting them. Aerhaps feminism4s still vital role is to investigate those margins where the unarticulated beliefs about masculinity built on dominance, and the unspeakable desires for power through sex remain. 2 suggest that ung4s uncanny ability to break apart the so1called rational voice of psyche1logic, psychological theory, to hear an irrationality deemed feminine might have contemporary resonance. 'ould ung aid a feminist desire for justice and healing, in hearing what is not, even cannot, be spoken92n addressing a conference of analysts and activists, 2 decided to speak  from my experience of listening to sexual sufferingB women raped and%or beaten. 2 am speaking from the role of being spoken to . Of the three sentences in the initial /uote from ung in this paper, 2 chose to talk from the second sentence position* of a gendered embodied being with an 3other4 in the unconscious. The first sentence is the conventional scholarly ungendered voice of psyche1logos. 2t gestures to transcendence in its evocation of concepts as universally applicable* anima for men, animus for women. The third anima1irrational voice, ung can supply himself.  Co matter how friendly and obliging a woman4s ?ros may be, no logic on earth can shakeher if she is ridden by the animus. Often the man has the feeling D and he is not altogether wrong D that only seduction or a beating or rape would have the necessary power of  persuasion. ung, '"i para. #"  3 7peaking as a woman addressing a conference of women and men, 2 said that we women had a different relationship to the city streets outside the well lit room. 8s we all left the building, women would adopt our half1conscious awareness of potential danger. ?arly learnt safety strategies would kick in. 7tick to well populated streets, walk fast and look straight ahead, never go where the streets lamps do notE ?very time a woman goes out alone, particularly after dark, she is afraid in a way a man is not, even if statistics tell another story that men are more likely to  be attacked. 8nd yet women4s fear has a double inevitability, we dread rape as well as other forms of physical harm. (hat 2 did not say in this role of a woman for whom, in ung4s terms at least, 3man4 is other, is that men are not immune from domestic violence, even from women partners. 2 considered including this unbiased statement, but 2 felt, 2  felt impelled to speak as one1who1has listened1as1a1woman to mostly women speaking in the margins because they  felt they would not be believed or accepted if they publically acknowledged their suffering. 8fter 2 presented this talk, a man spoke privately and said that as gay, he too suffered the fear of incipient violence on the streets. He thanked me for describing this half1conscious, almost never discussed, different embodied relation to outside and said he felt included by my words D which was remarkable and even  joyful-omen and men are, perhaps crucially, less a binary division through sexuality. omen (and gaymen- fear violence, including rape, outside ,   and are disproportionately subject to violence, including rape inside. hat 2 would testify too, and a legal connotation here is deliberate, is the  brutal and lasting violation of the psyche D imagined as another inside  D from rape and%or  physical attack by a partner. 7poken to , 2 witnessed suffering that did not necessarily diminish with time. ?ncouraging these victims to get what therapy they could find or afford, did not seem to be a passive act. 6or who can ask for help if they feel too shamed to deserve it9 How difficult is it to hold oneself worth fighting for, if the sense of self is destroyed, leaving only contamination9To return to ung4s writing that a man <often the man has the feeling D and he is not altogether wrong D that only seduction or a beating or rape would have the necessary power of persuasion,= 2 am deliberately putting it in the context of my role as the one spoken to ,   of rape and   domestic violence and of the gendered embodied second 3position4 of the first /uotation in this paper. 2t may appear perverse that 2 am not placing this utterance in the context of ung, the man with a well documented history of anxieties about women, beginning with this mother (ung !"F+-. 2 am also not placing these words in the context of 3what did ung really mean4 by them9 The notion that writing should be interpreted according to the biography or the intention of the author is a fine one. 2t feels natural. Gike many 3natural4 activities it proves to be profoundly cultural. Treating the author as the source of meaning is, in effect, to promote him or her to the position of deity. The author becomes the god of the text* the source of all its meaning and being. Cot only is  4 this to strip away centuries of 3reading differently,4 for example, according to genre, tradition, etymology, divine inspiration or performativity, but it is also a highly dubious practice for ungian psychology. Autting ung4s comment about seduction, beating or rape into the context of his own relations with women to be 3explained,4 or explained away, easily coalesces into second guessing 3what did ung really mean9 7uch a strategy imports an ego as a superior rational will into the text. >eading for rational ego is surely contrary to the direction of ungian psychology4s prioriti5ation of 3other4 /ualities in the psyche (>owland #@@$-. 7uch a deification of the presumed rationality of intention reveals the notion of author as sole god of the text4s being to be the last ditch stand of a monotheistic culture. Here we have monotheism4s most patriarchal moment, od as 6ather eclipsing all 3others4 as textual coherence is manufactured from the supposed rational will embodied by the divine author. hat 2 am suggesting is that ungian psychology can be regarded as support for a mode of reading that relieves a piece of writing from the demand that it be coherent, that it produce one or a whole meaning. ungian psychology allows a shift from monotheistic to polytheistic reading, which dissolves patriarchy4s insistence on masculini5ing meaning, for it no longer has to be one. 7o the three 3position4s postitions formulated by the initial ungian /uote here* transcendent making of concepts, gendered in a dualistic and embodied sense, and finally the anima voice, canall remain at liberty. Aut another way, in my approach to ung4s more infamous suggestions aboutseduction, beating and rape, taking the gendered and embodied perspective is only a prelude to offering more than one interpretation for what is going on. 2 propose that ung4s sentence beginning 3often the man has the feeling D and he is not altogether wrong,4 be considered in at least three ways* as in itself unreadable, as saying the unspeakable and as offering the unthinkable. This final reading is of the sentence as sublime in the sense of  putting forward that which cannot directly, or completely, or literally, or rationally, be represented (7haw #@@F-.ung4s infamous /uote is unreadable because it is impossible to follow the interpretative options. >eading here demands great effort to maintain a rational perspective in the face of extreme feelings invoked by these words. The writing is incendiary. 37eduction, beating or rape4 ignites the gendered imagination whatever the gender of the particular reader.. 6or 2 am not arguing that only women may read such lines as condoning rape or sexual violence. 8ll of us of any gender and%or sexual diversity do find it hard to stop and examine these words. hereas in fact the /uotation does not necessarily condone any of the actions indicated. 6irst of all the subject here is 3a man,4 not ung. 7econdly 3he4 has a 3feeling4 rather than a well thought out evaluation of the situation. Thirdly he is 3not altogether wrong4 which could mean not morally wrong or not factually wrong. 2s the /uotation saying that violence is a morally  5  justifiable option when the woman4s animus is dominant, or that such brutality is merely efficacious without being right98nd yet, ambiguity in these sentences surely does not exonerate ung from appearing to countenance such behavior. 8fter all ung is 3a man.4 7o we cannot be sure that 3a man4 does not refer generically to all men rather than some males who get 3a feeling4 when confronted by the animus of their female partners. 2n the animus, the man faces the irrational unconscious masculinity of a woman. 2t is striking that the /uotation makes no mentioning of the mirroring it implies between uncontrolled aggression in the psyche of a woman and the violent desires of the man. hile 3a feeling4 in these circumstances is also connected to the irrational other in us all and not presented as a guide for behavior, the ungian emphasis in valuing the unconscious other tends to legitimi5e such emotional responses. On the one hand, ung is culpable for offering such an ambivalent analysis of gender conflict thatit can be read as condoning violence. On the other hand, what if these unreadable words are so  because they touch unspeakable truths9 hat is this 3feeling4 when faced by a partner possessed  by their own gender other9 Aut another way, if a judicious editor removed this passage from ung4s work to make it more reasonable or rational, what, if anything would be lost9 7eduction or beating or rape are three modes of tyranny, two explicitly sexual with 3beating4 lacking a gender while emphasi5ing bodily strength. The prevalence of rape and domestic violence is far greater than the law punishes. :ut perhaps the desire to forcibly control a partner is greater still9 ung4s writing definitely depicts women as  beset by unstoppable inner aggression while a man 3might feel4 that only sex as tool of power or actual imposition of superior strength would enable him to regain control. Here in the mirror of two extreme drives for dominance are the darker powers of the psyche in women and men,  portrayed differently, because of ung4s essentialist assumptions that a male body means simply amasculine ego wholly different from a female body connoting a feminine ego. :efore challenging that essentialism, 2 want to point again to the incendiary impossibility of reading these words  straight and suggest a value in how they force recognition of the potential for violence in everyone. ung4s essentialism is hard on men for depicting the 3feeling4 for actual bodily and psychic harm while the woman is simply possessed by animus aggravation. 2n fact, in the mirroring effect of dismembering rage between the man and the woman we see how far ungian essentialism breaks down because of his commitment to a gender1fluid and compensatory psyche. The mirroring occurs because ego gender is not stable and essentialist but rather subjected to the other as the other gender. ung4s unreadable writing is also inscribing the unspeakable as recognition of the  potential for violence and the lust for power in sexual relationships. 2 want to end with a further sublime possibility in interpreting the infamous /uote by turning to the ultimate disaster in relationships* murder. To me murder is inferred in these lines not just
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