Sep 11, 2010

Daddy’s Girls - Women with a Positive Father Complex

Adriana Tanese-Nogueira

It’s easy to recognize a woman with a positive father complex: she is the one who better gets along with the system. She fits without troubles in the job market and is successful with boyfriends and husbands. She’s trained to be compatible with a world oriented by masculine values.

Since she was a child, her admiration for her father marked her personality in development. Perhaps, he treated her as his favorite, or he might have been the home star around which the mother also revolved. In such a scenario, generally, the maternal figure is the father’s sidekick, either because she doesn’t value herself or isn’t appreciated by him, or because she is problematic, or even winy and unsatisfied with her life, and yet she doesn’t dare to make any change.

The girl grows having the father as her guide star, from him she gains her self esteem and self confidence. From now on it will be from men that her psychological structure will rely on. Their approval is fatal for her to feel good. The ethic she’ll carry on in life will be the reproduction of the one her father adopted. Smart and crooked dads will have opportunist daughters; strict fathers, neat daughters; hard worker dads, hard worker daughters.

The advantage of having a positive father complex is that, as we live in a patriarchal society, this kind of woman already knows how to deal with it and she’ll take profit from what this world has to offer: work and money, consequently social power and status. She’ll be poorly aware about social issues, for she’s conservative by nature, or even superficial, and won’t pay attention. Subjects related to beauty and aesthetics appeal her most, also because these are items that belong to the feminine repertory according to the patriarchal ideology. To women suit thinking less and gussying up more, where thinking here means questioning and critical reflection.

The relationship with her mother will be complicated, based on filial tolerance after years of possible friction and misunderstanding. The maternal figure will remain a model to avoid. The woman with a positive father complex will not quite comprehend her mother, her viewpoint will appear idiosyncratic, and the lower her mother self-esteem is the less consideration her daughter grants her. Her mother will be to her as an unknown person, and the daughter won’t be able to access her soul, which will reinforce her bond with the masculine world.

It happens, however, that although well adapted to the patriarchal society, this kind of woman will still be a woman, she’s different. No matter how much she’s equipped to deal with masculine values, she’s not a man and, also, in time, she’ll perceive what it’s like to be a woman in a world of men, and the pink cloud originated in the relationship with her father will dissolve itself under the burning sun. It’s possible that, one day, she gets her mother better. But it takes time. The big disadvantage about having a positive father complex is that the psychological routes to the inner world are precluded. This kind of woman will necessarily be more rational and extroverted, not considering the interior of her psyche.

The price to keep her position in the world of the father is to give up her irreconcilable difference. She gets adapted, takes the identity that the masculine world offers her and puts aside what is inside, the most profound and mysterious part of her, from where questions and doubts may come. The woman with a positive father complex is a domesticated woman. That’s way she’s successful. Therefore, her interior “womanliness”, the one that “runs with the wolves” is more than ever muzzled. Many times, one cannot find even a mark of its existence.

Another big disadvantage is that this kind of woman owes her self-esteem to the masculine approval, in doing so she puts herself in their hands and in what they want her to be. If she’s lucky to find a great husband who positively encourages her to grow, good for her (but she’ll always be dependent on him), however she can easily end up with a man who does with her whatever he likes, as often happens when somebody receives more power that the one he’s able to manage.

If a woman with a positive father complex does not have more psychological resources to rely on, she’ll be at the mercy of the masculine demands, either the job market‘s, or the affective ones. In fact, her measure of success depends on how much she’s able to forgo her untamed feminine nature, her intuitions, feelings and inner perspectives about life. Frequently, these aspects will remain alive turning into subterfuges and manipulations. And it is when her domestication will show its reverse side, harming both: woman and society.


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