The concepts of psychology, such as those pertaining to mental health and mental illness, have often been taken from the values and ideas prevalent in a given society at a given time. While, ideally, psychology should be the source to which social and political theorists would base their ideas about human nature, often the opposite is true. This has been evident in Freud's theories about human behavior, as well as in more recent psychological theories.
According to Freud, those who chafed at middle-class conformity were maladjusted. He especially applied this idea toward women. During the Great Depression, interest in his theories waned, in large part, because of the failure of the Freudians to predict the economic debacle. However, in the post-war years of the 1940s, renewed interest in Freudian theories flourished (Fishbein, p. 641-642). Freudianism served to bolster a mystique of feminine fulfillment that persuaded women to abandon their jobs to returning veterans in order to find satisfaction as wives and mothers. The problems of love and sex diverted attention from the more difficult problems of the Cold War rivalry, poverty, and discrimination.
Intellectual and career women became the misfits of popularizers of Freudianism in the late 1940s (Fishbein, p. 643). The preliminary findings of the Kinsey report seemed to support this idea since its findings seemed to indicate that between 50 and 85 percent of the college educated women polled never had experienced sexual orgasm, while less than one-fifth of the high school educated women reported the same difficulties. However, only a decade later, the full report revealed the unrepresentative nature of the earlier sample. In fact, the report showed that the more educated the woman, the more likely she was to achieve orgasm (Fishbein, p. 642).
Nevertheless, belief in the earlier incorrect analysis persisted. In addition, there was a proliferation of psychological li...