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Bassin, D. (1996). Beyond The He And The She: Toward The Reconciliation Of Masculinity And Femininity In The Postoedipal Female Mind. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44S(Supplement):157-190.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44S(Supplement):157-190

Beyond The He And The She: Toward The Reconciliation Of Masculinity And Femininity In The Postoedipal Female Mind

Donna Bassin

This paper concerns a postoedipal psyche organization in the female mind whereby early overinclusive body-ego representations and cross-sex identifications are recuperated symbolically in the context of a differentiated female identity. This reintegration allows the female to symbolize what has been “lost” upon awareness of sex differences, play out masculine aspects without there being a threat to her core, primary feminine identity, and by linking rather than prohibiting cross-gender representations, provide imaginative elaboration and empathic access to another as a subject. This state does not reflect a denial of difference; rather, it reflects a psychic organization that uses symbolization to play with differences. Bisexual conflict can be mastered rather than repressed. Such mastery transcends normative, rigid, polarized sexual positions and gender conformity, perversions, and disturbed gender identity. Within the classical discourse, this mastery is suggested as an expansion of our limited and archaic notions of a genital stage specifically for the female. A new elaboration of a specific female genital stage can deepen our understanding of adult femininity and the development of cross-gender transference.

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