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January 1976

Some Dynamics of Male Chauvinism

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Southern California School of Medicine at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(1):63-65. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770010037007

• Male chauvinism was studied in the psychoanalytic therapy of 11 men. It refers to the maintenance of fixed beliefs and attitudes of male superiority, associated with overt or covert depreciation of women. Challenging chauvinist attitudes often results In anxiety or other symptoms. It is frequently not investigated in psychotherapy because it is ego-syntonic, parallels cultural attitudes, and because therapists often share similar bias or neurotic conflict.

Chauvinism was found to represent an attempt to ward off anxiety and shame arising from one or more of four prime sources: unresolved infantile strivings and regressive wishes, hostile envy of women, oedipal anxiety, and power and dependency conflicts related to masculine self-esteem. Mothers were more important than fathers in the development of chauvinism, and resolution was sometimes associated with decompensation in wives.

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