Most contemporary analyses of sexism focus on ecomic, social, and political inequalities and suggest appropriate remedies. In contrast, Gotz argues that sexism arises, at least in part, out of a subconscious male envy of women's capacity to receive. He refers to this as womb envy. The obvious ground of this envy is the realization by the growing boy that women have something he lacks. Gotz documents this subconscious envy as reference to a variety of mythological motifs, fairy tales, and religious beliefs, including theological constructs. His study is cross-cultural, though special emphasis is placed on Western traditions. The importance of mythology, especially, is the fact that it bears witness to people's real beliefs, and that it does so for a considerably long period of time. Thus myths become a good proof of the hypothesis of womb envy. Gotz also explores briefly some psychological mechanisms operative in the formation of womb envy, and he examines schooling as one institution that has perpetuated the womb envy that is so much a part of sexism. A provocative analysis, this will be of interest to the general public as well as scholars and researchers involved with Women's and Religious Studies, education, psychology, and philosophy.
IGNACIO L. GOTZ is Professor of Philosophy and Teaching Fellow at New College, Hofstra University, where he serves as Coordinator of the Programs in Humanities and Creative Studies. Among his earlier books are The Psychedelic Teacher, Creativity: Theoretical and Socio-Cosmic Reflections, and Conceptions of Happiness.