Tuesday, July 09, 2002


The great psychologist Erik Erikson once conducted an experiment in which he asked
boys and girls to play with blocks. The boys constructed towers and the girls constructed enclosures
of one sort or another. Erikson described these phenomena as reflecting penetratic (phallic)
and incorporative (vaginal) modalities.

It is possible to take Erikson's insight into the "incorporative" modality in women and use
this to identify the sexual identity of electric household appliances. Consider the kitchen, for example.
In kitchens we find:

trash compactors,
garbage disposals,
coffee grinders,
blenders...and so on.

all of which are incorporative. That explains why kitchens are a woman's domain,
even though increasing numbers of men cook. The only phallic appliance in the kitchen
is the electric knife. One of the ironies of present day life in the USA is the fact that
many women have expensive kitchens with all the latest appliances but hardly cook any more.
A lot of young women, so I understand, don't even know how to cook.

The domain of the male is the garage or tool room where various phallic
devices are to be found: drills, saws, etc.

Does the fact that so many men are now cooking suggest some kind of a weakening
of male sexual identity? I leave that for the psychologists to determine, but, as you
might imagine, I have my suspicions.

NOTE: Those interested in this kind of analysis might find my book Bloom's Morning
worth looking at. In it I analyze 35 different things, from king sized beds to garbage