Footnote 9 – Anneli Taube
The qualification “polymorphous perverse” which Freud applies to the infantile libido - referring to the indiscriminate pleasure derived by the child from his own body or the body of others - has also been accepted by more recent scholars, like Norman 0. Brown and Herbert Marcuse. The difference between them and Freud, as already indicated, lies in the fact at Freud considered it proper that the libido is sublimated and channeled to an exclusively heterosexual direction, definitely a genital one, while more recent thinkers approve and even favor a return to polymorphous perversity and to an eroticization that goes beyond the merely genital.
In any case, affirms Fenichel, Western civilization imposes on the girl or boy the models of their own mother or father, respectively, as the only possible sexual identities. The probability for a homosexual orientation, according to Fenichel, is all the greater the more the child identifies with the progenitor of the opposite sex, instead of what would generally occur. The girl who does not find the model offered by her mother to be satisfactory, and the boy who does not find the model offered by the father to be satisfactory, would as a consequence be prone to homosexuality.
It is appropriate here to not a recent work of the Danish doctor Anneli Taube, Sexuality and Revolution, where it is suggested that the rejection which a highly sensitive boy experiences towards an oppressive father – as a symbol of the violently authoritarian, masculine attitude – is a conscious one. They boy, at the moment when he decides not to adhere to the world proposed by such a father – use of weapons, violently competitive sports, disdain for sensitivity as a feminine attribute, etc – is actually exercising a free and even revolutionary choice inasmuch as he is rejecting the role of the stronger, the exploitative one. Of course, such a boy could not suspect on the other hand, that Western civilization, apart from the world of the father, will not present him with any alternative model for conduct, in those first dangerously decisive years - above all from three to five - other than his mother. And the world of the mother - tenderness, tolerance, and even the arts - will turn out to be much more attractive to him, especially because of the absence of aggressivity: but the world of the mother, and here is where his intuition would fall him, is also the world of submission since the mother is coupled with an authoritarian male, who only conceive of conjugal union as a subordination of the woman to the man. In the case of the girl, on the other hand, who decides not to adhere to the world the of mother, her attitude is due to the fact that she rejects the role of being submissive, because she intuits it as humiliating and unnatural, without realizing that once that role has been excluded, Western civilization presents her with no other role than that of oppressor. But the act of rebellion by such a girl or boy would be a sign of undeniable strength and dignity.
On the other hand, Doctor Taube asks why such occurrences are not more common, given that the Western couple, in general, exemplifies such exploitation. Here she suggests two factors which act as checks: the first would be present whenever in a home the wife - because of lack of education, intelligence, etc, - is actually inferior to the husband, which would make the authority of the latter seem more justifiable; the second factor would depend upon a slow development of the intelligence and sensitivity of the boy or girl, which would not permit them to grasp the situation. Implicit in this observation is the probability that if, on the other hand, the father is extremely primitive and the mother quite refined but nonetheless submissive, the extremely sensitive and precociously intelligent boy almost inevitably will reject the paternal model. And likewise, the girl will reject maternal model as arbitrary.
As for the question of why in the same home there can be found homosexual and heterosexual children, Doctor Taube suggests that in every social cell there is a tendency toward the division of roles, and for this reason one of the children will take charge of the parental conflict and keep the other siblings in a rather neutralized field.
Nonetheless, Doctor Taube, after evaluating the primary impulse toward homosexuality and pointing out the character of its revolutionary nonconformity, observes that the absence of other models for conduct - and in this respect she agrees with Altman and his thesis concerning the uncommon-ness of bisexual behavior, due to the lack of available bisexual models for conduct - causes the future male homosexual, for example, after rejecting the defects of the repressive father, to feel anguished about the necessity for identification with some form of conduct and to “learn” to be submissive like his mother. The process is identical for the girl: she repudiates exploitation, and because of that she hates to be like her submissive mother but social pressures make her slowly “learn” another role, that of the repressive father.
From five years of age until adolescence there occurs in these “different” kinds of children an oscillation in their original bisexuality. But the “masculinised” girl, for example, because of her identification with the father, although feeling sexually attracted to a male, will not accept the role of passive toy that a conventional male would tend to impose, and will feel uncomfortable and therefore cultivate, as the only means of overcoming her anxiety, a different role that will merely permit play with women. On the hand, the “feminized” boy, because of his identification with the mother, although feeling sexually attracted to a girl, will not accept the role of intrepid assailant that would tend to be imposed by a conventional female, will feel uncomfortable and therefore cultivate a different role that will only permit play with men.
Anneli Taube thus interprets the imitative attitude practiced, until very recently, by a high percentage of homosexuals, an attitude imitative, above all of the defects of heterosexuality. What has been characteristic of male homosexuals is a submissive spirit, a conservative attitude, a love of peace at any cost, even the cost of perpetuating their own marginality; whereas what has been characteristic of female homosexuals is their anarchical spirit, violently argumentative, while at the same time basically disorganized. Yet both attitudes have proven not to be deliberate, but compulsive, imposed by a slow brainwashing in which heterosexual bourgeois models for conduct participate - during infancy and adolescence - and later on, at the point of adopting homosexuality itself, “bourgeois” models for homosexual conduct.
This prejudice, or perhaps truthful observation, concerning homosexuals placed them on the periphery of movements for class liberation and political action in general. The socialist countries’ mistrust of homosexuals is notorious. Much of this - fortunately, suggests Doctor Taube - began to change throughout the decade of the sixties, with the emergence of the woman’s liberation movement, when the resulting judgments tended to discredit - in the eyes of such sexual marginals - those unattainable but tenaciously imitated roles of “strong male” and “weak female.”
The subsequent formation of homosexual liberation fronts is one proof of that.