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Mary and Femininity: A Psychological Critique
Patricia A. Harrington
Journal of Religion and Health
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Fall, 1984), pp. 204-217
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27505783
Page Count: 14
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This essay uses Freud to interpret the symbolism and theology of Mary in modern Catholicism. In her role as the mother of believers, Mary functions to place the Christian in the position of a child who receives illusory gratification from the mother. In her role as model for Christians to emulate, Mary functions to place the Christian in the position of receptivity and dependence which Freud associated with femininity. Reinterpreting Freud from a feminist perspective, I suggest that the kind of femininity Mary represents serves to perpetuate patriachal social structures and to inhibit full psychological maturity.
Journal of Religion and Health © 1984 Springer