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Women today face a dilemma in creativity. Historically, women have been forced to create vicariously by supporting another person who creates (e.g., a child). More direct creativity, of music, painting, or ideas, has been reserved for men. In vicarious creativity, the woman fulfills her biological role of producing offspring. She gives birth to a child instead of an idea and projects her unfulfilled need to create directly to the child, who then has the task of creating. Direct creativity was repressed in women for centuries because of a belief that women were inferior. This concept evolved into the idea that if they were creative, then they must have qualities or abilities that only men possess. Previous research using the Mf scale of the MMPI suggests that creative individuals of either sex exhibit some cross-sex identification and implies that androgeny may be a useful component of creativity. Creativity has also been seen as a sign of psychopathology. Some (e.g., Bergler) believe creativity comes about to solve inner conflicts, while others (e.g., Rollo May) consider that creativity is a sign of courage. Women traditionally have not had direct creativity as an option in resolving personal conflict. Instead, they have been limited to vicarious creativity, while feeling resentment or fear that they do not live up to their role. The dilemma facing contemporary women is that by choosing one form of creativity (family or direct production), the need to do the other will be left unsatisfied. Should I have chosen a career? Should I have had children? If she chooses both, she feels guilt at doing an inadequate job with either form of creativity. Thus, with the advent of more options, women have discovered a new dilemma.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1983

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