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Psychoanal Rev. 2017 Aug;104(4):469-484. doi: 10.1521/prev.2017.104.4.469.

Sadomasochism or the Art of Loving: Fromm and Feminist Theory.

Author information

1
44 Eighth Ave., Apt. 2, Brooklyn, NY 11217. E-mail: lchancer@hunter.cuny.edu.

Abstract

Although the work of Erich Fromm is not usually associated with feminist theory, his ideas overall are more consonant with contemporary notions of gender than usually recognized. This paper identifies three aspects of Fromm's thought worth feminist revisiting. The first relates to Fromm's gender-less use of sadomasochism to describe relationships based on dominance and subordination; this framework can be applied to sexist dynamics, though not limited to this context. Second, Fromm's vision of love as presented in The Art of Loving can be seen as kindred with Simone de Beauvoir's critique of romantic love and its flaws. Third, and relatedly, Fromm's concerns about the need for recognition as well as autonomy are compatible with Jessica Benjamin's notion of mutual recognition as developed in her book The Bonds of Love. All told, Frommian and feminist thought appear to be more connected than antagonistic.

PMID:
28746002
DOI:
10.1521/prev.2017.104.4.469
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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