Monday, August 13, 2012

Birthday noted

I thought it fitting in this election year, when freedom of choice and rights to healthcare for women in the USA are again under attack, to note the birth date of Lucy Stone, born on this date in 1818. An American abolitionist and suffragette, she inspired Susan B Anthony, after Anthony heard her speak, to take up the cause for a woman’s right to vote. Women were granted the right to vote on August 18, 1920 by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Stone had been dead 27 years.

I often wonder what makes us so afraid of the liberty of others, what affront to our sense of self will occur should difference be allowed, let alone embraced. When I decided to switch from Family Practice to Psychiatry, and then become a psychoanalyst, a friend from high school thought I was making a politically incorrect decision for she erroneously thought mental health professionals unduly influence others to accept the status quo, to learn to live within a reality of constraint and even oppression, particularly for women, for example, to accept an unhappy marriage. Far from this type of acceptance or submission, in my view psychoanalysis helps people see a larger range of possibility. One female patient, in an unhappy marriage for over a decade, through analysis found the courage to imagine a life on her own without her abusive husband.

Lucy Stone advocated not just for the rights of woman to vote, but for the rights of women to divorce, to retain property and childrearing responsibilities after divorce, and, married herself, was the first American woman known to retain her own name after marriage. In other words, like psychoanalysts, she advocated for all people, including female persons, to live up to an panoply of potential based on inner resources and not on chromosomes.

1 comment:

Jason Mihalko said...

"I often wonder what makes us so afraid of the liberty of others, what affront to our sense of self will occur should difference be allowed...?"

What a great question!

I think for many, issues of power and control are so intertwined with notions of liberty that they seem one-in-the-same.

I'm glad I stumbled across your blog today!

Jason