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Also in this issue

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VALUE <p>Location, location, location. Locality rocks. Especially here, on the watery fringe of civilization, where dubious global positioning seems to have fostered a fierce -- if fragile -- sense of place. Along the River, by the Lake, above the Gulf, at 30 degrees north and 90 degrees west, amid a hundred neighborhoods both occupied and ghosted by the storm -- the city is right here, slap-dash central to itself and inhabiting the leading edge of Time as it pushes headlong out of Katrina and into whatever it is that's not Katrina.</p> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:570850|" title="tulspring_07_drjohn" height="254" alt="tulspring_07_drjohn" hspace="7" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_drjohn_1.jpg" width="360" align="right" vspace="7" border="0" />Because we experience them together, we tend to think of time and place as an inseparable pair, as if they were cosmic twins sharing the same hairstyle and way of dressing. Truth is, time and place are often intersecting at interesting, even difficult angles and sometimes it feels as if they are not intersecting at all.</p> <p>Where y'at? It's 11:15 on a Tuesday night at an Oak Street club, and the band ought to be on stage because it's a weeknight and some folks do have to get up in the morning, but word is the tuba player has hit a nail on his way to the gig, and so the crowded little room filled with this motley set of night denizens -- many whom will be bleary-eyed when the alarm rings in the morning -- wait for the music that waits on a spare tire. <br /> <br /> It's early morning at a truck stop in Irish Bayou, the farthermost outpost in eastern New Orleans, and a trucker is lingering over his last sip of coffee while lamenting that he has to be in Nashville by late afternoon and will miss a crawfish boil to which he was invited the night before. It's lunchtime at a corner grocery by the River, where the cashier ticks off a list of landmarks in her Arabi neighborhood as she tries to help a customer recall the location of a house where a friend lived more than 40 years ago. But the decades in between their experiences are too large an obstacle and the customer leaves with only a carton of milk and his fading memory.</p> <p>Seems we are always trying to reconcile time and place to behave in a way that is more convenient to our lives. Good luck. Didn't Einstein tell us that time and place are not nearly as dependable as we think they are, and that the only thing we can depend on as being constant is the speed of light? And try setting your watch to that. No wonder there's not a band in New Orleans that can start on time.</p> <p><em>Refried confusion is making itself clear/ Wonder which way do I go to get on out of here</em>, sings New Orleans native Mac Rebennak, aka Dr. John, in his signature song "Right Place Wrong Time," which ponders the earthly consequences of the cosmic disconnect.</p> <p>Remove the barriers of place and time and picture Albert and Mac sitting down to have a drink, or better yet, playing a duet, with Mac on the keys and Albert on the fiddle. After concluding a heartfelt version of the Rolling Stones' "Time Is On My Side," Albert, wearing a quizzical expression, turns to his partner. "Mac, explain to me your concept of 'refried confusion.'" Good thing the evening is young.</p> <p>Meanwhile, back in the here and now the evening grows later.</p> <p>"Yeah, it already feels like a light year since I moved here," says a guy who is cooling his heels by making small talk to a group of folks who have stepped outside the Oak Street club for some fresh air. Sure, he's misplaced his hyperbole, but he's had a few extra beers waiting for the band and, really, he's no Einstein to begin with.</p> <p>But he does know this: There's something in the air tonight that feels, well, good. It's funny how the breeze cools to comfort the humidity that clings to his skin. It occurs to him that being here on this sidewalk with these people at this moment means not being anywhere else -- not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Actually, he's been in town for only a few months, but the city is already working its strange, zero-sum mojo. Soon he'll be forgetting what living is like in other places except for the evaporating sense that life there is tuned to a key in which he seems to no longer have a voice.</p> <p>He looks at his watch and whistles. It's late, and he thinks perhaps he should call it a night. But just then the group outside the club stirs to open a path wide enough for a tuba to get through.</p> <p>A minute later the band's on stage. Better late than never.</p> <p>Locality rocks.</p> <p><em>Nick Marinello is a senior editor in the Office of University Publications.</em></p>
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VALUE <p><strong>For two decades after World War II, a distorted view of the Freudian Oedipus complex prevailed in American culture -- especially in father-daughter relationships -- confining women to narrow, sexual roles.</strong></p> <p>A 1950s teenage American girl dressed in a strapless prom dress descends the family home's curving staircase, holding onto the railing to steady her teetering stance in too-high heels. She tentatively looks for approval from ...? Not her date. He can wait. It's her father. She yearns for his whistling acceptance of her looks and her erotic appeal.<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:571165|" title="tulspring_07_girl" height="160" alt="tulspring_07_girl" hspace="7" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_girl_1.jpg" width="250" align="right" vspace="7" border="0" />And, according to prevailing cultural and Freudian psychoanalytic thought at the time, if dad is fulfilling his proper role, he gives his daughter his approval and she grows up emotionally healthy, making a smooth transition from little girl to young woman.<br /> <br /> Kind of weird, huh? That's what Rachel Devlin thinks, too. Devlin, associate professor of history at Tulane, has written <em>Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters and Postwar American Culture</em>, published in 2005 by the University of North Carolina Press.<br /> <br /> In the book, Devlin writes about the alarming rise in girls' juvenile delinquency from the 1940s and into the '50s and '60s and the distortion of psychoanalytic theories -- especially the Oedipus complex -- to control what was perceived as girls' bad behavior. The book shows the mid-century power, influence and wholesale acceptance in the United States of Freudian psychoanalysis, re-imagined from Sigmund Freud's original ideas about the struggles children go through to repress their sexual feelings toward parents.</p> <p>To push against the corrupting influence of the emerging teenage subculture -- and to fashion a stronger position for fathers in the family -- psychoanalysts offered a disturbing explanation of girls who were hostile, disobedient and uncooperative: The girls were not sufficiently Oedipally connected to their fathers. Devlin explores female identity and independence, generational conflict, media fascination with the lives of teenage girls and the roles their fathers played, and the rising wealth of post-World War II American consumer culture.<br /> <br /> In this period -- 1941 to 1965 -- girls had access to better schools with almost universal compulsory secondary education, new social freedoms, cultural prominence, commercial influence and a place in the nation's vision of its future.</p> <p>Yet, they were held back by the eroticization of the father-daughter relationship, Devlin contends. Not all scholars agree with Devlin. Some think she's making too much of innocuous interactions between fathers and daughters. "I think the assumption has always been that fathers and daughters don't really have that much to do with one another," says Devlin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Men in gray flannel suits</h2> <p>That fathers, the men in gray flannel suits, were emotionally removed and psychologically distant from their families is a common assumption about 1950s American men. But what Devlin finds portrayed in the iconic movies and novels of the period -- <em>Baby Doll, Imitation of Life, The Wild Ones, Rebel Without a Cause, Lolita, Lie Down in Darkness</em> -- are highly charged, explosive father-daughter relationships. Girls were looking for and needed the sexual approval of their fathers.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997573|" title="tulspring_07_girl1_1" height="187" alt="tulspring_07_girl1_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_girl1_1_1.jpg" width="360" border="0" />The most-read, best-selling Freudian psychoanalyst of the period was Helene Deutsch, who wrote <em>The Psychology of Women</em>. Deutsch, one of Freud's most influential followers, believed in feminine masochism, that women's greatest achievement lies in childbirth.<br /> <br /> Deutsch's impact on psychoanalytic circles was enormous, says Devlin. Deutsch advocated that women's only fulfillment was through their relationships with men -- their fathers and then their husbands and then their Oedipal relationship with their sons.<br /> <br /> "Deutsch had a huge influence," says Devlin. And now Deutsch has vanished from psychological texts even though her book was <em>the</em> textbook of her time. And that's not surprising, says Devlin, who has found that books about girls get discredited quickly. That's because what's been written about girls is often ideological and political. "It's rejected 10 years down the line. People look back and they go, oh, that was really sexist," says Devlin.<br /> <br /> Boy books like <em>Catcher in the Rye</em> deal with values like independence and strength of character, and they last as classics. Boy icons endure, while girl icons like Shirley Temple "don't last because they're so invested in male approval," says Devlin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Girls and lipstick</h2> <p>Bobby-soxers in tight sweaters, padded brassieres and full -- or pencil-thin -- skirts with cinched waists, hanging out in their own bedrooms, on the phone, slamming the door to parents, isolating themselves from the family -- that's the teenage-girl culture Americans came to know and loathe or admire in post-World War II America. A 1944 <em>Life</em> magazine article -- "Teenage Girls: They Live in a Wonderful World of Their Own" -- is typical of the time.<br /> <br /> And the black press in magazines such as <em>Ebony</em> and <em>Jet</em> printed cover photos of debutante girls to show their "beauty, accomplishment and allure," says Devlin, as middle-class African-American girls moved forward the social aspirations of their families.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997575|" title="tulspring_07_girl2_1" height="358" alt="tulspring_07_girl2_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_girl2_1_1.jpg" width="244" border="0" />The media interest in adolescent girls led to concern about the proliferation of girl gangs and rising juvenile delinquency among girls. Girls caught in the act of truancy, shoplifting, vandalism or running away from home were sent to their own juvenile courts. <em>High School Hellcats</em> is a film based on the misbehavior of a 25-member girl gang implicated in a shoplifting ring in Tacoma, Wash.<br /> <br /> "This shockingly true story shows how young girls from good homes went terribly wrong," reported <em>Women's Home Companion</em> magazine in 1955. In New York, the Wayward Minor Court for Girls or "Girls' Term" was established as a "socio-legal tribunal," using the latest psychiatric methods to diagnose and rehabilitate "the sexually promiscuous girl, the runaway, the undisciplined, defiant youngster, the neglected girl," reported the New York University <em>Law Quarterly Review</em> in 1946.<br /> <br /> Court-appointed psychiatrists attempted to get to the bottom of the underlying cause of girls' misbehavior and explained it as a problem of paternal failure. The analysis that rebellious girls were not sufficiently Oedipally attached to their fathers was a way to control the girls and attempt to re-integrate them into the family, says Devlin.<br /> <br /> The patriarchal bent to this way of thinking instituted an allegiance to fathers that gave them a strong role to play in the family, without the requirement to be a harsh authoritarian. Lipstick loomed as a symbolic rite of passage.<br /> <br /> Girls who wore the bright, red lipstick of the day with the approval of their fathers were on the path to fulfilling their womanhood. Other girls, whose fathers forbade their wearing lipstick, were having their sexual development arrested. Psychoanalysts invariably advised fathers to allow their daughters to wear lipstick, says Devlin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>The Oedipus complex</h2> <p>After Sigmund Freud, the Austrian originator of psychoanalysis, visited the United States and went back to Europe in 1911, he said, "America is a mistake." Freud suggested that introducing psychoanalysis to Americans was a disaster because it was "instantly seized upon, popularized and bastardized," says Devlin. Freud could already see that Americans were twisting his theories out of shape. Three decades later, Freudian psychoanalysis had so permeated the American psyche, there was almost "a religious acceptance" of it, Devlin says.<br /> <br /> The Oedipus complex, as defined by Freud, describes the sexual-relationship development of boys and girls as they grow into men and women. (Oedipus is a legendary Greek king who, according to myth, killed his father and unknowingly married his mother.) According to Freud's theories, both boys and girls have their primary identification or fixation with their mothers from the time they are infants to age 5. The Oedipus complex itself doesn't appear until age 5 or 6 when boys become attracted to their mothers, and they want their fathers out of the way.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997576|" title="tulspring_07_girl4_1" height="211" alt="tulspring_07_girl4_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_girl4_1_1.jpg" width="360" border="0" />Conversely, girls become attracted to their fathers. The latency period for both sexes, when sexual drives abate and are not at the forefront of consciousness, is between the ages 6 to 12. Then at adolescence, sexual drives reappear.<br /> <br /> Girls' Oedipal feelings for their fathers re-emerge. According to Freudian theory, says Devlin, "Girls want their fathers' sexual attention, and they are competitive with their mothers." Boys, on the other hand, repress Oedipal feelings for their mothers and reject them. "What's important [in this way of thinking] is that girls can stay in an Oedipal state indefinitely, whereas boys grow out of it," says Devlin.<br /> <br /> In the 1910s and '20s, European psychoanalysts saw the Oedipus complex in both boys and girls "as something that was dark, as a stumbling block, as a subconscious desire that is fundamentally at odds with the reality of their relationship with their parents -- that is the incest taboo," says Devlin. Freud's view was that these Oedipal urges haunt people and they need to be overcome. In the period right after World War II, American psychoanalysts took the warped stance that the problem with teenage girls in this country was that they were "not entering into <em>enough</em> of an Oedipal relationship with their fathers," Devlin says.</p> <h2><br /> <br /> Rebel without a cause</h2> <p>In a dining room scene in the 1955 movie <em>Rebel Without a Cause</em>, as the family is about to sit down to eat, the character "Judy," portrayed by actress Natalie Wood, attempts to kiss her father hello. He shoves her away and slaps her, saying she's too old for that sort of behavior. This being the 1950s, Judy then naturally wants to run away from home. She hangs out with boys, played by actors James Dean and Sal Mineo, who have their own family hang-ups and "shrinks" to analyze them.<br /> <br /> <em>Rebel Without a Cause</em> shows adolescents struggling with family dynamics, much of it through a Freudian lens. Who can forget James Dean's dad -- Jim Backus -- emasculated, wearing an apron? Judy's relationship with her father is sexualized, says Devlin, as are the relationships of other teenage girl characters in most of the "serious" literature and films of the era. Girls were seldom seen as separate, independent human beings with other attributes besides their sexuality. And there's the problem, in a nutshell, says Devlin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Women's liberation</h2> <p>By 1968 the Freudian stranglehold on American culture loosened as feminists came out swinging in fury against the restrictive, limiting roles assigned women. Feminists excoriated Freud's theories. Metaphorically or in reality, they burned bras in protest. Marjorie Leonard in 1966 was the first psychiatrist since the 1930s to mention that a girl could -- and should -- move beyond an Oedipal relationship with her father. Leonard, a psychiatry professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, wrote in the <em>International Journal of Psychoanalysis</em>, "It takes a mature man ... to be able to offer his daughter desexualized affection at the crucial stages in her development."</p> <div class="inset_narrow_news_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:571170|" title="tulspring_07_girl3" height="337" alt="tulspring_07_girl3" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_girl3_1.jpg" width="220" border="0" /></p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Rachel Devlin delves into post-World War II pop culture and psychological trends to examine the roles of fathers in the lives of their daughters.</p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>Devlin says that in the late 1960s cultural attention shifted from teenage girls to young adults. The sexual revolution began. The counter-culture arrived with the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, blue jeans and flowers in the hair.<br /> <br /> "What happens is that the Freudian ideas about fathers and adolescent daughters recede, but their influence remains," says Devlin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Daddy's little girl</h2> <p>It is possible today to see teenage girls wearing T-shirts that say "Daddy's Little Girl" -- but highly unlikely for a boy older than 2 to announce on his clothing that he's a "Mama's Boy." In America's rich consumer culture -- spawned at the end of World War II and expanded exponentially in the last half century -- fathers find it desirable to spoil their daughters.<br /> <br /> The father-daughter relationship nowadays is more "commercially oriented and less psychoanalytically informed" than during the heyday of Freudian psychoanalysis, says Devlin. But girls' independence remains an issue. Devlin points to lavish "Sweet 16" parties as documented on MTV as examples of fathers spoiling their daughters today.<br /> <br /> She says that her Tulane women students immediately and almost uniformly understand the phenomenon. In their own lives or the lives of their friends, they have experienced or observed fathers showing their love by buying material things for their daughters -- and girls dressing up to please their dads.<br /> <br /> Devlin hopes that her book prompts readers to re-examine father-daughter relationships in the past and today. There's useful insight to be gained, she says, about obstacles women face as they struggle to become fully realized human beings. The search for an authentic, feminine self -- never easy -- has every reason to go on.<br /> <br /> <em>Mary Ann Travis is senior editor in the Office of Publications and editor of</em> Tulanian.<br /> <br /> </p>
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VALUE What Ever Happened to Daddy's Girl?
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VALUE <p><strong>There has been an explosion in the use of plastic and cosmetic surgery to change outward physical appearance, but beneath the surface of every nip/tuck decision is the desire to effect psychological change.</strong><br /> <br /> If the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, does a little nip and tuck of the surrounding skin change the view? If there is something in the human countenance that reveals the intimate, even sacred, aspects of our nature, what does it say when we opt to change our appearance? What does it say when television shows like "The Swan," "Dr. 90210" and "Extreme Makeover" capture the imagination of a public fascinated by the ability of medical technology to alter the way we look? Which is it -- healthy or disturbed -- to care so much about appearance? Hmmm.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997568|" title="tulspring_07_skin1_1" height="293" alt="tulspring_07_skin1_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_skin1_1_1.jpg" width="250" border="0" />This is going to get downright metaphysical if we're not careful. Few things play a more central role to an individual's identity than his or her body image. The way we see ourselves, the way we perceive others as seeing us and even our concept of beauty are determined by an array of psychological factors that align themselves differently in each individual. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there are so many beholders.<br /> <br /> "We all have a sense of beauty," says David Sarwer (A&amp;S '90), an associate professor of psychology in psychiatry and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, "but it is difficult to put into words. It's one of those things in which we know it when we see it."<br /> <br /> Last year, Sarwer and fellow Tulane alumnus Linton Whitaker (M '62), professor of surgery at Penn and founding director of the Edwin and Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance, joined a handful of colleagues in publishing <em>Psychological Aspects of Reconstructive and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery</em> (Lippincot Williams &amp; Wilkins).<br /> <br /> The book negotiates the busy intersection of medical technology and psychology, where psychologists and doctors are now developing a keener sense of how to treat patients seeking to change their appearance on the operating table.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Appearance Matters</h2> <p><em>Medicine is magical and magical is art</em>, sings Paul Simon about the dizzying pace of contemporary life, but it's a line that also suggests the complex nature of the ever-widening, ever-deepening spectrum of medical procedures that includes facelifts, rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, liposuction, breast augmentation and craniofacial repairs of congenital defects. And whether it is to contour what a patient believes is a less-than-flattering nose or to reconstruct a badly burned face, the bottom line of plastic surgery is appearance, say Sarwer and Whitaker.<br /> <br /> "The function of a face is to look like a face and not call attention to itself," says Whitaker, who has performed both cosmetic and reconstructive operations in his 35-year career. "I've had people who couldn't chew or breathe correctly, but almost to a person they say they want their nose straighter or their jaw straighter. Function is secondary to looking 'normal.'"<br /> <br /> Whether we like to admit it or not, appearance matters. Psychologists who 40 years ago would view elective cosmetic surgery as a sign of narcissism or some variety of internal conflict now generally acknowledge that appearance is a legitimate concern as it affects individuals throughout their lives.<br /> <br /> "We know that more attractive infants are held more frequently by mothers," says Sarwer, who is a consultant at the Center for Human Appearance and wields a compendium of knowledge based on research, anecdotal material and his own clinical experience. "We know more attractive children receive preferential treatment and are thought to be brighter students. It affects what happens to us in higher education, what happens to us when we apply for jobs and our interactions with the medical and legal systems."<br /> <br /> At the same time, a number of studies have carefully measured the psychological aspects of cosmetic surgery and most reveal few differences between people who sought surgery and those who did not. Statistics, in fact, indicate that more than half of American women and slightly less than half of American men report that they are unhappy with the way they look, says Sarwer, who suggests very few people are completely content with their appearance.<br /> <br /> "For a lot of people it is a matter of getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror and saying, 'I don't like X,' and they don't give it much of a second thought. For others, I think that dissatisfaction is greater and probably motivates the pursuit of cosmetic surgery."<br /> <br /> For most people, this dissatisfaction arises not out of a pre-existing psychopathology or unconscious conflict but rather from an individual's body image, speculates Sarwer. Body image, what Whitaker defines as "the perception one has of oneself," can motivate a person to enroll in a Tae Bo class, shop from an L.L. Bean catalog, join Weight Watchers or elect to have a little extra skin under his or her chin surgically removed. "Everybody cares what they look like," says Whitaker, "but there are different levels of caring."<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Red Flags</h2> <p>Is it possible to care too much about appearance? Most definitely. Over the years Whitaker has developed a 1-through-10 scale to help him get a feel for the expectations of his patients. "If you want to be a 10 on a scale of 10 then that is a goal. And there are a few people like that, but not many, fortunately," says Whitaker. It's not a goal that any patient will achieve.</p> <div class="inset_narrow_news_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:571019|" title="tulspring_07_skin2" height="275" alt="tulspring_07_skin2" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_skin2_1.jpg" width="220" border="0" /></p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Despite their different professional interests, Linton Whitaker (in the clinical white coat) and David Sarwer see eye-to-eye in recognizing the essential relationship of body image, self-esteem and physical change involved in plastic surgery.</p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>"Most people are happy somewhere around 7 or 8," says Whitaker, "but virtually nobody is happy around 1 or 0. Some people have abnormal expectations and are unrealistic, but most are very realistic." A good candidate for cosmetic surgery, says Sarwer, will have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure.<br /> <br /> Most often, cosmetic surgery will produce subtle changes in a person's features. Patients looking for a "Cinderella-like transformation" are setting themselves up for disappointment. Internal motivation is another healthy characteristic for persons contemplating cosmetic surgery.<br /> <br /> An individual electing to have the wrinkles around her eyes smoothed because it will enhance her self-esteem is much more likely to be a better candidate than someone who is being pressured by a romantic partner to have the procedure.<br /> Similarly, a person who has a specific and visible concern that can be addressed by cosmetic surgery is more likely to enjoy the benefits of the procedure than a person who has only a vague notion of being "ugly" or wants to correct an offending feature that is not apparent to others.<br /> <br /> It is essential for surgeons to see such red flags when they initially interview a prospective patient, says Sarwer, who notes that as many as 15 percent of patients seeking plastic surgery have a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is manifested as either a preoccupation with an imagined physical defect in appearance or an exaggerated concern about a minimal defect. What's particularly discouraging, says Sarwer, is that 90 percent of patients diagnosed with BDD report either no change or even a worsening of their condition after surgery.<br /> <br /> There's also growing clinical and anecdotal evidence that these are the patients most likely to sue their surgeon or even threaten or commit acts of violence against the surgeon. "Cosmetic surgeons need to screen for and be aware of this disorder," says Sarwer, who, when asked, will make himself available to evaluate a patient. Often, patients will react to such referrals with anger and indignation, refusing to meet with a psychologist. In many cases patients will eventually find a surgeon who will treat them, thereby not receiving the mental health care they need. It's important for surgeons to address patients with empathy and in a non-threatening manner in order to make the referral more acceptable to the patient.<br /> <br /> With 35 years under his belt, Whitaker says he can pretty much spot the symptoms of BDD or other problematic psychiatric conditions in a person during the preliminary interview with a prospective patient. In such cases he'll refer the person to see Sarwer for consultation.<br /> <br /> "If the person refuses to do that, then as a surgeon you should avoid that patient," says Whitaker. When he conceived the idea for the Center for Human Appearance, which opened in 1987, Whitaker says he envisioned a comprehensive program that would treat all aspects of appearance, from cosmetic procedures to repairs of birth defects and post-traumatic disfigurement, through a multidisciplinary approach, including the involvement of a psychologist.<br /> <br /> Ideally, Whitaker would like his patients to have post-operative follow-ups with a number of specialists. Patients getting a face lift, for example, "would see the dermatologist who would help them maintain their new-found face and skin and they would see the psychologist who could help them through the things in life that come along after change," says Whitaker. "It's like renovating a house; you don't just stop there, you keep maintaining it."<br /> <br /> Still, it's tough to get many patients to embrace the big picture. "Basically, most people want to come in here and have their face lift and don't ever look back."<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Distorting Reality</h2> <p>Such a cavalier attitude may be, at least in part, attributable to the extent in which society has evolved in recognizing our bodies as malleable things. "We are more comfortable in using medical technologies to improve the way people look than ever before in our history," says Sarwer. "Instead of using clothing to highlight parts of how we look, we are more comfortable in doing that with our bodies."<br /> <br /> According to the most recent data, in 2004, plastic surgeons in this country performed more than 14.7 million cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, up from 1.5 million procedures in 1992. The increase in cosmetic procedures alone in that period is a staggering 2,129 percent.<br /> <br /> "We used to think that it was a big deal when there were cosmetic surgery shows on the Discovery Channel and Health Network," says Sarwer, "let alone where we see them now -- on primetime shows like 'Extreme Makeover,' 'The Swan' and 'Dr. 90210,' all of which are wildly popular."<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:571020|" title="tulspring_07_skin3" height="365" alt="tulspring_07_skin3" hspace="7" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_skin3_1.jpg" width="250" align="right" vspace="7" border="0" />Yet "reality TV" distorts the reality experienced by most patients. They make for great television, but are dramatically inaccurate portrayals of what happens in the offices of most plastic surgeons.<br /> <br /> Unlike their counterparts on TV who typically undergo multiple procedures costing upwards of $100,000 -- not to mention style consultation and new wardrobes -- only a third of patients in the real world ever come back for a second procedure. "It confuses consumers," says Sarwer. "Most people don't have that kind of disposable income and can't take four to six months off from their lives."<br /> <br /> Whitaker scoffs at the TV shows, which he calls ridiculous. "They don't show the reality of what happens in between what you saw this week and what's going to happen in terms of the healing process and the possibility of complications."<br /> <br /> And as more and more surgeons try to meet the needs of more and more patients who are more and more comfortable with surgical transformation, the limits are being tested on what is ethically reasonable to do on a reasonable human being. "It is clearly reasonable to everybody that to reconstruct an ear for someone who is missing one is reasonable to do," says Whitaker. "But what about somebody who has a little extra folding over that ear -- is that reasonable to do?"<br /> <br /> Because technology has made change more possible, says Whitaker, surgeons need to "choose their patients more carefully because that patient may be asking for something because of a psychological abnormality." Though there is a "a lot of minutia nonsense meddling in cosmetic surgery," Whitaker sees it as no less serious or important than the reconstructive work he's done on patients with birth defects or disfigurement caused by burns or auto accidents.</p> <p>"Cosmetic surgery is very serious to the person who is having it," he says. Many times patients have contacted him years after a procedure to say how their lives have improved because they feel better about who they are. There is research that backs up Whitaker's clinical experience. Sarwer points to a number of studies that indicate that there are in fact psychological benefits to cosmetic surgery, though no study has tracked patients beyond two years.<br /> <br /> "Patients show improvements in things like body image, quality of life and a decrease in depressive symptoms," says Sarwer. "So it really does seem like there are some psychological benefits to these procedures. Whether or not they endure over the long term, however, is a question that's yet to be answered."<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>How Much Farther</h2> <p>Back in the 16th century, the Italian plastic surgeon Gaspari Tagliacozzi famously set to words the essence of his avocation. "We restore, repair and make whole those parts which fortune has taken away, not so much that they delight the eyes but that they may buoy up the spirit and help the mind of the beset," wrote Tagliacozzi, who probably would enjoy sitting down with Sarwer and Whitaker for an update on things.<br /> <br /> Tagliacozzi seems to have had a big-picture perspective on the profession, which has substantially remained true to that vision, even as it has dashed forward incorporating the magical, medical technology of craniofacial surgery, microvascular techniques and correlated instrumentation that Whitaker has seen developed during his career.<br /> <br /> And if Sarwer is right, the art, science and psychology of plastic surgery, which is roughly half-a-millennium old, is just getting started. "I don't see any reason to think that interest in these procedures is going to decline," he says. "How much farther we will go? We will go as far as technology is going to take us."<br /> <br /> <em>Nick Marinello is a senior editor in the Office of University Publications and features editor of</em> Tulanian.<br /> <br /> </p>
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VALUE <p><strong>The case against Enron and its culture of corporate corruption was driven by a single question.</strong><br /> <br /> Sean Berkowitz speaks with round, Midwestern vowels. The way he pronounces the "o" in the words "Enron," "dollars," "stock" and "confidence" suggests the rugged, big-shouldered dialect of his native Chicago. "Enron is now synonymous with the largest-scale corporate fraud scandal in history," Berkowitz (A&amp;S '89) relates to a room filled with eager Tulane undergraduates. "Anytime you use that word, it's a dirty word -- 'Enron' and 'scandal' almost go together."</p> <div class="inset_wide_news_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:571002|" title="tulspring_07_enron1" height="228" alt="tulspring_07_enron1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_enron1_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" /></p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Sean Berkowitz led the government's prosecution of Enron executives Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay.</p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>Berkowitz knows what he's talking about. He served as director of the government's Enron Task Force and lead prosecutor of the 2006 trial of Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling and Enron chair Kenneth Lay. It was the trial of the fledging century and it put Berkowitz and his team of prosecutors onto the nation's stage.<br /> <br /> But at this moment, Berkowitz is playing to a much smaller venue, delivering the dean's colloquium in Cudd Hall on the Tulane uptown campus.<br /> <br /> It has been less than six months since the jury delivered Skilling and Lay a guilty verdict and Berkowitz has returned to his alma mater ostensibly to discuss the case with students, but more than anything it is to show his support of the students whom Berkowitz considers heroes because they returned to Tulane and New Orleans despite the grand discouragement of Hurricane Katrina.<br /> <br /> In rapid-fire lawyerspeak, as though commanding a courtroom, Berkowitz ticks off the merits of Enron: The company was named <em>Fortune</em> magazine's "most innovative company in America" six years in a row. Enron was No. 7 of the largest companies listed as the Fortune 500 and its stock was listed as one of "10 Stocks to Last the Decade." Analysts around the world rated Enron stock a strong "buy" -- the "it" stock of the '90s. "In the mid-1990s until 2001, Enron was perceived as one of the finest companies in America," Berkowitz tells the students.<br /> <br /> "What went wrong? What happened with this company that was so good and so wonderful -- which was thought of as an unbelievable company -- that caused it to be so onerously fraudulent?" There are no easy answers.<br /> <br /> As the third and final lead prosecutor on the Enron case, Berkowitz, who had served as a federal prosecutor since 1998, picked up the investigation in 2003 and delved deeply into the corporate culture at Enron, interviewing hundreds of former Enron employees and executives, always asking "why?" "Enron was viewed as an unbelievably innovative company and it was held up as an example of what was right with America." Look around the room and you can see it has happened.<br /> <br /> Just as he must have enthralled the jury during the trial, Berkowitz, with his broad face, open demeanor and straightforward manner, has captivated the students. And Berkowitz knows it. Now he can begin to walk them through the mistakes that brought down the paragon of corporate America. In the next hour, Berkowitz trots out anecdote after anecdote, character after character, as he draws a high-resolution image of both the Enron culture and the key information he and his team used to win the case.<br /> <br /> It's a fascinating telling and you almost overlook the fact that Berkowitz has left himself entirely out of the tale. He's enigmatic that way -- a showman who away from the courtroom is more comfortable outside the glow of the spotlight. Berkowitz has gone on record describing Skilling and Lay as the brightest guys in the room. He could have been talking about himself. Not that he'd ever do that. He'll let you figure that out on your own.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Good decisions, bad decisions</h2> <p>To his embarrassment, Berkowitz became a media darling in the wake of the Enron case. Despite his disdain for the limelight you can find Berkowitz in a feature spread of <em>Fortune</em> magazine, along with two other lawyers of the prosecution team. The three were included in the magazine's "Portraits of Power" photo portfolio. If there is any irony in this, it is not the only instance.</p> <div class="inset_wide_news_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:571003|" title="tulspring_07_enron2" height="209" alt="tulspring_07_enron2" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_enron2_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" /></p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling spent more than $100 million on their defense, but the jury was ultimately persuaded by the prosecution's argument of the difference between truth and lies.</p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>When he headed off from his home in Chicago to attend Tulane University, Berkowitz was set to go to business school, where the best and the brightest students were clamoring to go to work for companies like Enron.<br /> <br /> Though initially fervent to pursue a business degree, in his freshman year Berkowitz was persuaded to change course by a faculty adviser who laid out the evidence that a liberal arts major would provide a broader skill set of reading, writing and learning how to analyze any issue.<br /> <br /> It made sense to Berkowitz, who had an eye on ultimately getting a law degree. Later his liberal arts background proved helpful at Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude. Besides, Berkowitz doesn't seem to be a dollars-and-cents kind of guy. Rather, he seems the kind of guy who likes to understand the nuts and bolts of the human experience.<br /> <br /> "Imagine sitting in a room with the CEO and CFO of Enron," Berkowitz tells the students in explaining the corporate culture of Enron. "They say to you, 'Two plus two is five.' You're sitting there and you think, 'My math isn't all that great, but I think two plus two is four.' But you're scared because you don't want them to think you're stupid ... so you sit in the room and you're getting paid a million dollars a year, and your stock options are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they go around the room and they say, 'Two plus two is five, right?' People look at each other and nobody has the courage -- and there certainly isn't an attitude that encourages people to speak up. People feel if they speak up they will be viewed as stupid or dumb and moved out the door."<br /> <br /> Berkowitz figures that although Enron seemed perfect on paper, the actual culture of the company was corrupt. "There was an arrogance and an attitude of not asking questions at the company that caused people to make decisions that were unbelievably bad decisions." If Berkowitz holds contempt for Skilling, Lay and the rank and file who for whatever reasons carried out the carefully planned accounting fraud that bilked shareholders out of millions of dollars, it doesn't surface in his straightforward manner as he hashes out key elements of the case.<br /> <br /> Led by the innovative Jeffrey Skilling, Enron mastered creative accounting, manipulation of corporate law, and downplaying financial information to stakeholders. Kenneth Lay was beloved and trusted by his employees and applauded for philanthropy in Houston but he was not upstanding with his own workforce and the public. Paradoxically, Enron's company slogan was "Ask Why" but the Enron leaders discouraged employees from asking questions.<br /> <br /> After poring through hundreds of thousands of documents, talking to hundreds of people who worked at Enron, and hearing the explanations of those who pled guilty to crimes, Berkowitz concludes that the poster child of corporate America was sullied by greed, arrogance, pride and hubris. All of which led to a degree of carelessness, too.<br /> <br /> During the trial, Skilling and Lay relied on their memories of events, often saying, "I don't recall." In presenting the evidence, Berkowitz and the prosecution team took a different tack, meticulously scrutinizing electronic calendars, computers and tape-recorded phone conversations, looking for "digitrails" to show the jury that what the Enron executives did and what they said were diametrically different.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Black and white</h2> <p>Naomi Berkowitz, Sean's mother, sat proudly in the courtroom when her son made the closing arguments in the trial of Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay. Seeing her there was the highpoint of the trial, says Berkowitz, who brightens when he speaks of her. Berkowitz's parents divorced when he was 9, and while his father remained active in his life, Berkowitz respects the challenges his mother faced in raising three children while working full-time and earning an MBA. (More irony, if you're still looking.)</p> <div class="inset_wide_news_photo"> <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:571004|" title="tulspring_07_enron3" height="225" alt="tulspring_07_enron3" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/tulspring_07_enron3_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" /></p> <div class="inset_photo_caption"><br /> <p>Berkowitz knew he had to reduce the facts to black-and-white terms, so the jurors would focus not on the impossibly complex series of accounting maneuvers but simply on right or wrong.</p> </div> <br /> </div> <p>Berkowitz says he admires his mother's work ethic and how she was devoted to instilling values in her children. Naomi made clear the importance of giving back to the community in which one lives. It was a lesson that was not lost on her son Sean.<br /> <br /> As executive director of the American Brain Tumor Association, Naomi Berkowitz convinced her son to fundraise for the nonprofit organization, in addition to his other charitable work.<br /> <br /> Today, he also is active on the board of the Chicago Area Project, a nonprofit organization that provides funding, resources and training for at-risk youth in the Chicago area. Berkowitz learned early to be a team player, being his older brother's advocate rather than reveling in sibling rivalry.<br /> <br /> The trait is evident when he talks about his team of 10 talented federal prosecutors who are passionate litigators from across the country. It was a team that had spent years of painstaking investigation, obtained more than 20 convictions and negotiated more than $150 million in restitution orders for the victims.<br /> <br /> The trial had consumed four months, with Skilling and Lay spending more than $100 million on their defense. And it all boiled down to closing arguments. Now, with the eyes of the nation -- and his mom -- looking on, it was time to summarize. Berkowitz knew he had to reduce the facts to black-and-white terms, so the jurors would focus not on the impossibly complex series of accounting maneuvers but simply on right or wrong.<br /> <br /> To crystallize the issue, Berkowitz used black-and-white cardboard that displayed the word "TRUTH" on one side and "LIES" on the other. "You get to decide whether they told truth or lies, black and white," he told the jury. "Don't let the defendants, with their high-paid experts and their lawyers, buy their way out of this. I'm asking you to send them a message that it's not all right. You can't buy justice. You have to earn it." The jury decided Skilling and Lay indeed told lies and they were convicted.<br /> <br /> The judge gave Skilling a minimum of 24 years in prison on 19 charges of fraud, conspiracy, false statements and insider trading, though there will be an appeal later this year. Lay, who was convicted of six counts of conspiracy and fraud, died before sentencing. Berkowitz told the media that the Enron case would send a clear message to business people: "You can't lie to shareholders. You can't put yourselves in front of your employees' interests. No matter how rich and powerful you are, you have to play by the rules."<br /> <br /> Berkowitz says he is gratified by the partial restitution amounting to $45 million that will be doled out to shareholders if Skilling loses his appeal. "I was pleased that we were able to recover tens of millions of dollars for the victims through our prosecution," Berkowitz says. "If Jeff Skilling ultimately is left with very little assets at the end of the day, I think that's appropriate. It's important to focus on the victims and to make sure that we recover as much money as we could for the people who lost their retirements, though these people will never be made whole."<br /> <br /> Following the historic trial, Congress passed sweeping reforms and stiffened penalties for white-collar crimes.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Back home in Chicagoland</h2> <p>The largest, most powerful law firms courted Berkowitz after the Enron trial, but he has chosen to return to his hometown of Chicago, where he is now working in the private sector in the local office of Latham &amp; Watkins, an international firm with 24 offices worldwide. Having spent eight years as a federal prosecutor working on all sorts of cases, Berkowitz says it was time for him to move on.<br /> <br /> Like Watergate, the quintessential political scandal of modern America, the Enron debacle and ensuing trial is bound to become a major motion picture one day. In a movie version, who would star as the third and final lead prosecutor? Ever the lawyer, Berkowitz refuses to take the bait. "I hope and believe that Enron will not be the pinnacle of my career," Berkowitz says with a smile. "I would prefer that my life not be made into a film. I think it's an unfinished story. I'm not yet 40. I have a lot left to do and to accomplish."<br /> <br /> <em>Fran Simon is managing editor in the Office of University Publications.<br /> <br /> </em></p>
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Tulane in the news

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What Ever Happened to Daddy's Girl?

June 21, 2007

Mary Ann Travis
mtravis@tulane.edu
Michael DeMocker

For two decades after World War II, a distorted view of the Freudian Oedipus complex prevailed in American culture -- especially in father-daughter relationships -- confining women to narrow, sexual roles.

A 1950s teenage American girl dressed in a strapless prom dress descends the family home's curving staircase, holding onto the railing to steady her teetering stance in too-high heels. She tentatively looks for approval from ...? Not her date. He can wait. It's her father. She yearns for his whistling acceptance of her looks and her erotic appeal.

tulspring_07_girlAnd, according to prevailing cultural and Freudian psychoanalytic thought at the time, if dad is fulfilling his proper role, he gives his daughter his approval and she grows up emotionally healthy, making a smooth transition from little girl to young woman.

Kind of weird, huh? That's what Rachel Devlin thinks, too. Devlin, associate professor of history at Tulane, has written Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters and Postwar American Culture, published in 2005 by the University of North Carolina Press.

In the book, Devlin writes about the alarming rise in girls' juvenile delinquency from the 1940s and into the '50s and '60s and the distortion of psychoanalytic theories -- especially the Oedipus complex -- to control what was perceived as girls' bad behavior. The book shows the mid-century power, influence and wholesale acceptance in the United States of Freudian psychoanalysis, re-imagined from Sigmund Freud's original ideas about the struggles children go through to repress their sexual feelings toward parents.

To push against the corrupting influence of the emerging teenage subculture -- and to fashion a stronger position for fathers in the family -- psychoanalysts offered a disturbing explanation of girls who were hostile, disobedient and uncooperative: The girls were not sufficiently Oedipally connected to their fathers. Devlin explores female identity and independence, generational conflict, media fascination with the lives of teenage girls and the roles their fathers played, and the rising wealth of post-World War II American consumer culture.

In this period -- 1941 to 1965 -- girls had access to better schools with almost universal compulsory secondary education, new social freedoms, cultural prominence, commercial influence and a place in the nation's vision of its future.

Yet, they were held back by the eroticization of the father-daughter relationship, Devlin contends. Not all scholars agree with Devlin. Some think she's making too much of innocuous interactions between fathers and daughters. "I think the assumption has always been that fathers and daughters don't really have that much to do with one another," says Devlin.

Men in gray flannel suits

That fathers, the men in gray flannel suits, were emotionally removed and psychologically distant from their families is a common assumption about 1950s American men. But what Devlin finds portrayed in the iconic movies and novels of the period -- Baby Doll, Imitation of Life, The Wild Ones, Rebel Without a Cause, Lolita, Lie Down in Darkness -- are highly charged, explosive father-daughter relationships. Girls were looking for and needed the sexual approval of their fathers.

tulspring_07_girl1_1The most-read, best-selling Freudian psychoanalyst of the period was Helene Deutsch, who wrote The Psychology of Women. Deutsch, one of Freud's most influential followers, believed in feminine masochism, that women's greatest achievement lies in childbirth.

Deutsch's impact on psychoanalytic circles was enormous, says Devlin. Deutsch advocated that women's only fulfillment was through their relationships with men -- their fathers and then their husbands and then their Oedipal relationship with their sons.

"Deutsch had a huge influence," says Devlin. And now Deutsch has vanished from psychological texts even though her book was the textbook of her time. And that's not surprising, says Devlin, who has found that books about girls get discredited quickly. That's because what's been written about girls is often ideological and political. "It's rejected 10 years down the line. People look back and they go, oh, that was really sexist," says Devlin.

Boy books like Catcher in the Rye deal with values like independence and strength of character, and they last as classics. Boy icons endure, while girl icons like Shirley Temple "don't last because they're so invested in male approval," says Devlin.

Girls and lipstick

Bobby-soxers in tight sweaters, padded brassieres and full -- or pencil-thin -- skirts with cinched waists, hanging out in their own bedrooms, on the phone, slamming the door to parents, isolating themselves from the family -- that's the teenage-girl culture Americans came to know and loathe or admire in post-World War II America. A 1944 Life magazine article -- "Teenage Girls: They Live in a Wonderful World of Their Own" -- is typical of the time.

And the black press in magazines such as Ebony and Jet printed cover photos of debutante girls to show their "beauty, accomplishment and allure," says Devlin, as middle-class African-American girls moved forward the social aspirations of their families.

tulspring_07_girl2_1The media interest in adolescent girls led to concern about the proliferation of girl gangs and rising juvenile delinquency among girls. Girls caught in the act of truancy, shoplifting, vandalism or running away from home were sent to their own juvenile courts. High School Hellcats is a film based on the misbehavior of a 25-member girl gang implicated in a shoplifting ring in Tacoma, Wash.

"This shockingly true story shows how young girls from good homes went terribly wrong," reported Women's Home Companion magazine in 1955. In New York, the Wayward Minor Court for Girls or "Girls' Term" was established as a "socio-legal tribunal," using the latest psychiatric methods to diagnose and rehabilitate "the sexually promiscuous girl, the runaway, the undisciplined, defiant youngster, the neglected girl," reported the New York University Law Quarterly Review in 1946.

Court-appointed psychiatrists attempted to get to the bottom of the underlying cause of girls' misbehavior and explained it as a problem of paternal failure. The analysis that rebellious girls were not sufficiently Oedipally attached to their fathers was a way to control the girls and attempt to re-integrate them into the family, says Devlin.

The patriarchal bent to this way of thinking instituted an allegiance to fathers that gave them a strong role to play in the family, without the requirement to be a harsh authoritarian. Lipstick loomed as a symbolic rite of passage.

Girls who wore the bright, red lipstick of the day with the approval of their fathers were on the path to fulfilling their womanhood. Other girls, whose fathers forbade their wearing lipstick, were having their sexual development arrested. Psychoanalysts invariably advised fathers to allow their daughters to wear lipstick, says Devlin.

The Oedipus complex

After Sigmund Freud, the Austrian originator of psychoanalysis, visited the United States and went back to Europe in 1911, he said, "America is a mistake." Freud suggested that introducing psychoanalysis to Americans was a disaster because it was "instantly seized upon, popularized and bastardized," says Devlin. Freud could already see that Americans were twisting his theories out of shape. Three decades later, Freudian psychoanalysis had so permeated the American psyche, there was almost "a religious acceptance" of it, Devlin says.

The Oedipus complex, as defined by Freud, describes the sexual-relationship development of boys and girls as they grow into men and women. (Oedipus is a legendary Greek king who, according to myth, killed his father and unknowingly married his mother.) According to Freud's theories, both boys and girls have their primary identification or fixation with their mothers from the time they are infants to age 5. The Oedipus complex itself doesn't appear until age 5 or 6 when boys become attracted to their mothers, and they want their fathers out of the way.

tulspring_07_girl4_1Conversely, girls become attracted to their fathers. The latency period for both sexes, when sexual drives abate and are not at the forefront of consciousness, is between the ages 6 to 12. Then at adolescence, sexual drives reappear.

Girls' Oedipal feelings for their fathers re-emerge. According to Freudian theory, says Devlin, "Girls want their fathers' sexual attention, and they are competitive with their mothers." Boys, on the other hand, repress Oedipal feelings for their mothers and reject them. "What's important [in this way of thinking] is that girls can stay in an Oedipal state indefinitely, whereas boys grow out of it," says Devlin.

In the 1910s and '20s, European psychoanalysts saw the Oedipus complex in both boys and girls "as something that was dark, as a stumbling block, as a subconscious desire that is fundamentally at odds with the reality of their relationship with their parents -- that is the incest taboo," says Devlin. Freud's view was that these Oedipal urges haunt people and they need to be overcome. In the period right after World War II, American psychoanalysts took the warped stance that the problem with teenage girls in this country was that they were "not entering into enough of an Oedipal relationship with their fathers," Devlin says.



Rebel without a cause

In a dining room scene in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause, as the family is about to sit down to eat, the character "Judy," portrayed by actress Natalie Wood, attempts to kiss her father hello. He shoves her away and slaps her, saying she's too old for that sort of behavior. This being the 1950s, Judy then naturally wants to run away from home. She hangs out with boys, played by actors James Dean and Sal Mineo, who have their own family hang-ups and "shrinks" to analyze them.

Rebel Without a Cause shows adolescents struggling with family dynamics, much of it through a Freudian lens. Who can forget James Dean's dad -- Jim Backus -- emasculated, wearing an apron? Judy's relationship with her father is sexualized, says Devlin, as are the relationships of other teenage girl characters in most of the "serious" literature and films of the era. Girls were seldom seen as separate, independent human beings with other attributes besides their sexuality. And there's the problem, in a nutshell, says Devlin.

Women's liberation

By 1968 the Freudian stranglehold on American culture loosened as feminists came out swinging in fury against the restrictive, limiting roles assigned women. Feminists excoriated Freud's theories. Metaphorically or in reality, they burned bras in protest. Marjorie Leonard in 1966 was the first psychiatrist since the 1930s to mention that a girl could -- and should -- move beyond an Oedipal relationship with her father. Leonard, a psychiatry professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, wrote in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, "It takes a mature man ... to be able to offer his daughter desexualized affection at the crucial stages in her development."

tulspring_07_girl3


Rachel Devlin delves into post-World War II pop culture and psychological trends to examine the roles of fathers in the lives of their daughters.


Devlin says that in the late 1960s cultural attention shifted from teenage girls to young adults. The sexual revolution began. The counter-culture arrived with the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, blue jeans and flowers in the hair.

"What happens is that the Freudian ideas about fathers and adolescent daughters recede, but their influence remains," says Devlin.

Daddy's little girl

It is possible today to see teenage girls wearing T-shirts that say "Daddy's Little Girl" -- but highly unlikely for a boy older than 2 to announce on his clothing that he's a "Mama's Boy." In America's rich consumer culture -- spawned at the end of World War II and expanded exponentially in the last half century -- fathers find it desirable to spoil their daughters.

The father-daughter relationship nowadays is more "commercially oriented and less psychoanalytically informed" than during the heyday of Freudian psychoanalysis, says Devlin. But girls' independence remains an issue. Devlin points to lavish "Sweet 16" parties as documented on MTV as examples of fathers spoiling their daughters today.

She says that her Tulane women students immediately and almost uniformly understand the phenomenon. In their own lives or the lives of their friends, they have experienced or observed fathers showing their love by buying material things for their daughters -- and girls dressing up to please their dads.

Devlin hopes that her book prompts readers to re-examine father-daughter relationships in the past and today. There's useful insight to be gained, she says, about obstacles women face as they struggle to become fully realized human beings. The search for an authentic, feminine self -- never easy -- has every reason to go on.

Mary Ann Travis is senior editor in the Office of Publications and editor of Tulanian.

Tulanian
Spring 2007

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu