The basic argument of Freud's essay Fetishism, is that there exists a
metaphorical substitution by a child for the absence of a penis in its mother. The
child experiences what Freud calls the castration complex, fear that if the mother
lost the penis the boy believed was there, he might also run the risk of losing his.
Therefore the boy substitutes the missing genital with another object, typically a
penis. The intended audience for this essay seems to exclude women because
none of Freud’s patients were women and he does not provide a version of the
fetish for girls. Along with many of the other forms in which Freud hurts his
credibility. Another way in which his reliability is untrustworthy is his lack of
evidence for his claims. For example when Freud states, “For obvious reasons
the details of these cases must be withheld from publication, I cannot therefore,
show in what way accidental circumstances have contributed to the choice of a
fetish.” he does not follow with a further explanation of the implications such a
claim makes. He expects his readers to not question the development of the
circumstances that led to the fetish. Freud’s argumentative case is not strong
because of his lack of sources. Although Freud’s claims may not be founded on
reliable sources, his aim is not entirely to change convictions but to alter conduct.
Freud sought to treat his patients under the model of the fetish. Nevertheless
essay underlines Freud’s sexist ideology.