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Chodorow, N.J. (1996). Theoretical Gender And Clinical Gender: Epistemological Reflections On The Psychology Of Women. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44S(Supplement):215-238.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44S(Supplement):215-238

Theoretical Gender And Clinical Gender: Epistemological Reflections On The Psychology Of Women

Nancy J. Chodorow

This paper points to problematic tendencies in psychoanalytic thinking about women and suggests approaches that might address these problems. Psychoanalytic theories about women tend to overgeneralize, universalize, and essentialize. Furthermore, they do not sufficiently explicate the inextricable cultural aspects in anyone's gender psychology, and they are often permeated with unreflected-upon cultural assumptions. I suggest that paying attention to clinical individuality and assuming that subjective gender has multiple components for everyone gives us better understanding of our patients and points us toward more accurate and complete gender theories. There are many psychologies of women. Each woman creates her own psychological gender through emotionally and conflictually charged unconscious fantasies that help construct her inner world, that projectively imbue cultural conceptions, and that interpret her sexual anatomy. By making some unconscious fantasies and interpretations more salient than others, each woman creates her own prevalent animation of gender.

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