Why Her?

Just zipped through some of last year’s winning essays in the Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize (really loved “Eulogy for Nigger”) and although I was mostly besotted with Josh Cohen’s “The Incurious Rabbit,” there was one thing I found a bit peculiar.  When he talks about his analysands are struggling with often paralyzing indecision, he uses, for the every-patient, the pronoun “she.”

I can’t help making a link between this generalized cultural condition and the crisis I find recurring more and more often in my psychoanalytic consulting room, of the impossible decision.  Prospective patients come to me in the grip of an urgent yet irresolvable dilemma.  Should I stay in my unhappy marriage for my children’s sake?  Should I leave the stable job I hate for the risk of an uncertain and potentially disastrous new venture?  She appeals to me to help her extricate herself from a swamp of indecision and ambivalence.  But turning over the competing arguments in the session does little to clarify her wish or relieve her anxiety.  In fact, after a few session or many more, she might complain that she’s no clearer about what she wants and that the uncertainty has only become harder to bear.

So, either the Good Doctor Cohen is a) only seeing female patients (weird), b) trying to push back against the historical standard of always assuming every person/character/divine being whose gender is otherwise unspecified must be male or c) saying, in a roundabout way, that women struggle more with pathological indecision than men do.  Votes?

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One Response to “Why Her?”

  1. Matthew Levy Says:

    A and c more interesting but my money is on the prosaic option b.

    On Sunday, 8 January 2017, Itinerantdaughter’s Blog wrote:

    > itinerantdaughter posted: “Just zipped through some of last year’s winning > essays in the Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize (really loved “Eulogy for > Nigger”) and although I was mostly besotted with Josh Cohen’s “The > Incurious Rabbit,” there was one thing I found a bit peculiar. Wh” >

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