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Layton, L. (1998). In Defense of Gender Ambiguity: Jessica Benjamin. Gender & Psychoanalysis. I, 1996. Pp. 27-43. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):341.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: In Defense of Gender Ambiguity: Jessica Benjamin. Gender & Psychoanalysis. I, 1996. Pp. 27-43

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):341

In Defense of Gender Ambiguity: Jessica Benjamin. Gender & Psychoanalysis. I, 1996. Pp. 27-43

Lynne Layton

Benjamin adds an important new thread to her argument that bigender and bisexual positions are products of healthy development. Unlike many postmodern theorists who cast off developmental theory because they find it essentially conservative, Benjamin continues to explore development for its potential to produce what she calls postconventional subjects. The author builds on her theory of identificatory love and on Irene Fast's theory of preoedipal gender overinclusiveness (which, according to Benjamin remains a part of the psyche). She argues that, while oedipal gender relations split masculinity and femininity, and split loving another and identifying with another, these polarities can be deconstructed by other developmental gender categories, such as identificatory love (a homoerotic love of one who is like; the wish to be loved as like). In the preoedipal period, identificatory love and object love, being and having, may not be so different. These earlier gender possibilities that remain in tension with oedipal polarities can be reintegrated in postoedipal phases, and here lies the hope for postconventional subjectivity.


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Article Citation

Layton, L. (1998). In Defense of Gender Ambiguity. Psychoanal. Q., 67(2):341

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.