"Because her first love object is a woman, a girl, in order to attain her proper heterosexual orientation, must transfer her primary object-choice to her father and men... For girls, as for boys, mothers are primary love objects. As a result, the structural inner object setting of female heterosexuality differs from that of males. When a girl's father does become an important primary persona, it is in the context of a bisexual relational triangle... For girls, then, there is no absolute change of object, nor exclusive attachment to their fathers... The implications of this are two-fold. First, the nature of the heterosexual relationship differs for boys and girls. Most women emerge from their oedipus complex oriented to their father and men as primary erotic objects, but it is clear that men tend to remain emotionally secondary, or at most emotionally equal, compared to the primacy and exclusivity of an oedipal boy's tie to his mother and women. Second...women, according to Deutsch, experience heterosexual relationships in a triangular context, in which men are not exclusive objects for them. The implication of her statement is confirmed by cross-cultural examination of family structure and relations between the sexes, which suggests that conjugal closeness is the exception and not the rule". (p. 288, Chodorow, as cited in Castells (2007))
"[Women] while they are likely to become and remain erotically heterosexual, they are encouraged both by men's difficulties with love and by their own relational history to their mothers to look elsewhere for love and emotional gratification. One way that women fulfill these needs is through the creation and maintenance of important personal relations with other women... However, deep affective relationships to women are hard to come by on a routine, daily, ongoing basis for many women. Lesbian relationships do tend to recreate mother-daughters, but most women are heterosexual... There is a second alternative... Given the triangular situation and emotional asymmetry of her own parenting, a woman's relation to a man requires on the level of psychic structure a third person, since it was originally established in a triangle... Then, a child completes the relational triangle for a woman'. (p. 289, Chodorow, as cited in Castells (2007))
Castells' elaboration on Chodorow's theory:
"Under the classic, now fading, patriarchal/heterosexual condition, heterosexual women relate primarily to four kinds of objects: children as the object of their mothering; women's networks as their primary emotional support; men as erotic objects; and men as providers for the family. Under current conditions, for most families and women, the fourth object has been canceled as the exclusive provider. Women do pay a dear price, in working time, and in poverty, for their economic independence and for their indispensable role as family providers, but by and large, the economic basis of family patriarchalism has been eroded, since most men also need women's income to reach decent living standards. As men were already secondary as assets of emotional support, this leave them, primarily, with their role as erotic objects, a dwindling source of interest for women in a time of widespread development of women's support networks, and given women's focus on combining their mothering with their working lives. " (p. 291)
So, according to him men are basically left with three choices:
1. separation, "the flight from commitment";
2. gayness, as it provides support networks (as marginal communities, rather strong ones);
3. renegotiation of the heterosexual family contract, where men fully share the responsibility of parenting. (Seems this is the least favorite choice:-) Perhaps the reaction against the classic, nuclear family has to recede a little bit more, before it becomes a more viable option.)
Castells notes, "The main victims of this cultural transition are children, as they have become increasingly neglected under current conditions of family crisis... The reconstruction of the family under egalitarian relations and the responsibility of public institutions in securing material and psychological support for children, are possible ways to alter the course toward mass destruction of the human psyche that is implicit in the currently unsettling life of millions of children'.
"I would advance the idea that the open recognition of individual desire, as insinuated in the emerging culture of our society, would lead to such an aberration as the institutionalisation of desire. Because desire is often associated with transgression, the recognition of sexuality outside the family would lead to extreme social strain. This is because as long as transgression consisted merely in expressing sexuality outside the family boundaries, society could easily cope with it, by channeling it through coded situations and organized contexts, such as prostitution, earmarked homosexuality, or condoned sexual harassment: this is Foucault's world of sexuality as normalization. Things are different now. If the patriarchal family is not there to be betrayed any longer, the transgression will have to be an individual act against society. The bumper function of the family is lost. This opens the way to the expression of desire in the form of non-instrumental violence. As welcome as it can be as a liberating development, the breakdown of the patriarchal family (the only one existing historically) is indeed giving way simultaneously to the normalization of sexuality (porno movies in prime-time television), and to the spread of senseless violence in society through the back alleys of wild desire, that is, perversion.
Liberating from the family confronts the self with its own inflicted oppression. The escape to freedom in the open, networked society will lead to individual anxiety and social violence, until new forms of co-existence and shared responsibility are found that bring together women, men, and children in a reconstructed, egalitarian family better suited fro free women, informed children, and uncertain men" (pp. 300-301)