Sigmund Freud was the first of six children to be born into his middle class,

Jewish family. His father was a wool merchant, and was the provider for the
family. From the time Freud was a child, he pondered theories in math, science,
and philosophy, but in his teens, he took a deep interest in what he later
called psychoanalysis. He wanted to discover how a personís mind works, so he
began to explore the conscious and unconscious parts of oneís psyche.

Freudís parents and siblings were directly involved in allowing him to pursue
this unexplored area of psychology. He was given his own room so that he could
study his books in silence, and was only disturbed when it was time to eat.

Freud eventually married Martha Bernays. She was cooperative and completely
subservient to her husband. She was simply filling a role that the society
during that time insisted was proper for all women. Freud himself derived his
attitudes toward women and his beliefs about the roles of individual sexes from
personal experiences in the strict culture of the time. In the middle to late
eighteen hundreds, Central European society distinguished clearly between the
roles of men and women. Cultural norms dictated that men be responsible for work
outside of the home, and the financial well being of the family, while the
womenís responsibilities were in the home and with the children. With these
specific gender roles came the assumption of male dominance and female
submission. Females were pictured as serene, calm, creatures that were lucky to
have the love and protection of their superior husbands. It is in this form of
the family where most children first learn the meaning and practice of
hierarchical, authoritarian rule. Here is where they learn to accept group
oppression against themselves as non-adults, and where they learn to accept male
supremacy and the group oppression of women. Here is where they learn that it is
the maleís role to work in the community and control the economic life of the
family and to mete out the physical and financial punishments and rewards, and
the femaleís role to provide the emotional warmth associated with motherhood
while under the economic rule of the male. Here is where the relationship of
superordination-subordination, or superior-inferior, or master-slave is first
learned and accepted as "natural." -John Hodge: Feminist Theory P.36

Philosophical definitions of women, written about by male philosophers, share
warped views that were the result of the cultural times and places from which
they originated. The view that women are somewhat "less" than men in
many respects, began with the philosophies of Aristotle in the fourth century

BC. Since Aristotle was one of the most influential philosophers of ancient

Greece, he had a widespread impact on the thinking of many people. Christian
theologians in ancient Europe rediscovered his theories. Aristotle believed that
a womanís part in conception was to supply the container in which the seed,
planted by the male, grows. Aristotle said, "We should look on the female
as being as it were a deformity, though one which occurs in the ordinary course
of nature." Although we know now that Aristotle was mistaken in his
biological interpretation of the female gender, his philosophies had a long-term
impact on the perception of women from a non-biological perspective. A few
philosophers, such as Plato (427-347 BC), Condorcet (1743-1794), and John Stuart

Mill (1806-1873) had opinions that opposed Aristotle and inherently supported
womenís rights, but females are still struggling to prove to the opposite sex
that we are not "defective men." In fact, women were seen as inferior
since the time of Aristotle and throughout Freudís lifetime because they did
not have penises. It seems that it could also be argued that men lack the
clitoris and instead have an elongated and inefficient organ of a similar kind.

These two points depend, of course, on point of view, but the ancient
philosophers did obviously not take the female point of view into consideration.

A vast amount of Aristotelian views are present in Freudís beliefs. The
biological "reasons" given by the ancient philosophers for specific
social roles are somewhat incomplete. It seemed fairly logical for women to have
the natural role of caring for children because she gives birth to them, but
there was no biological explanation for the assumptions that women were less
important as human beings, of lesser worth, naturally passive, or should be
ruled by men. Simply because women give birth to babies, it has somehow been
assumed that we are confined to roles as mothers and as caretakers. These
conclusions were not drawn from biological observations, but from numerous