There is a myth that we have all heard since childhood that girls are more fond of their fathers and boys are more fond of their mothers. Of course, as with all common beliefs, this is also accepted with experience. But what is the reason for this? Sigmund Freud is considered to have shed light on this situation with his concepts of castration anxiety-confusion, which he first introduced in his 1908 work "Little Hans".

Sep 1, 2023 - 19:12
Sep 1, 2023 - 19:15
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First, let us dwell on the words that make up the concept. Castration is a word of English and French origin and is used in our language as "castration, sterilization". Castration anxiety is the anxiety of being castrated and castration confusion is the anxiety of being castrated.
The period between the ages of 3-6, which is the third of children's psychosexual development processes and called the "Phallic Period", is a very important process in which the child's sexual perception is formed. According to Freud, castration anxiety-confusion emerges precisely in this period. The child searches for meaning between the presence and absence of the penis by comparing sexual organs. Freud treats castration in two different ways for boys and girls. While he used the term castration anxiety for boys, he found the term castration confusion appropriate for girls. Because it is not possible for a girl to be anxious about losing something she does not already have. 
Castration anxiety, which Freud suggests occurs in boys, first begins when the child discovers the existence of a penis. This situation is parallel to the Oedipus complex that emerges in boys. According to the Oedipus complex, the male child shows excessive attachment to the mother, has sexual and romantic feelings for her and therefore sees the father as a rival. In the next stage, the boy realizes that women do not have penises and attributes this to castration by an authority. For the child who is left alone with the fear that the father, the closest authority to him, will castrate him, the father figure is no longer a rival but a threat. The best thing that can be done for the child who cannot cope with the fear of castration is to submit. John David Nasio summarizes this last process as follows: "The child, whose narcissistic love for his penis is more intense than his sexual desire for his mother, gives up incestuous feelings and obeys his father's law". The Oedipus complex and castration anxiety, which initially arise almost in parallel and feed each other, end with the anxiety overcoming the complex. Freud sees this as a healthy part of the process of psychosexual development.
In girls, the process is similar, although with some differences. Daughters also start out with the idea that everyone should have a penis, but over time they realize that they and their mother do not have a penis. Of course, for many children in this age group, the mother is considered the primary caregiver and has a very important place. However, over time, the child confronts the misconception that the lack of penis is a trait he inherited from his mother or that he was castrated by his mother. At this point, the castration complex becomes the triggering force of the Oedipus complex. The girl child moves away from the mother and establishes a more violent bond with the father figure. 
While explaining the castration complex, Sigmund Freud also introduced many concepts such as "penis deprivation, penis envy, phallic monism". All these clearly show that Freud tried to explain human sexuality and libido on a purely masculine basis, based on the presence or absence of the penis. His attempt to explain a developmental process, which is thought to be highly influential in the future character traits of the child, through the male sexual organ can be interpreted as a rejection of femininity and a disadvantageous position for women. For this reason and because it is a theory that is based only on heterosexual individuals and ignores a large part of the society, it has been criticized by many groups, especially the feminist school. Castration anxiety-conflict is still the subject of many debates today.

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