Fake Orgasms Make Us All CriminalsOctober 11, 2011 No Comments
Psychology and criminal sociology are littered with extremely sexist theories. Everyone is familiar with Freud’s “penis envy.” Other insulting theories include Cesare Lombroso’s idea that female criminals are less evolved than men and that a woman’s face (AKA ugliness) can tell you if she’s a criminal. But nothing takes the cake like Otto Pollak’s book The Criminality of Women, which contains the most ridiculously sexist theory I have ever come across.
Pollak’s theory is that women are more likely to engage in theft or other deceptive crimes because our biology makes us naturally good liars. Women can fake their orgasms, and they go around having periods with no one else knowing about it. This makes us so good at lying that we become excellent thieves and criminals.
At first glance this theory is so ridiculous that we can dismiss it as a mistake of the past. We can laugh, think about how far we’ve come and go on with our business. But should we be laughing at or paying attention to this and similarly sexist theories?
The truth is that these books were taken very seriously at the time. Authors like Pollak and Freud were considered experts in their field and are still studied today. A lot of their theories have made their way into modern sociology and psychology, so is it that far off to think that the sexist ones have too?
Stereotypes of women as deceptive, sneaky and scheming still exist. We are still defined by our “mysterious” periods and female orgasms and they are still the subject of study. So while Pollak’s theories seem like a bad joke of the past we should not dismiss them. This kind of sexism still exists. We should use The Criminality of Women and similar texts as a way of critiquing modern theories. We can ask ourselves if these ideas still exist and if so, how we can fix them.
Contact the author here: jennY@morningquickie.com