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McNamara, S. (2015). Prologue: Category/Gender: Languages of Gender and Desire. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(8):763-765.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(8):763-765


Prologue: Category/Gender: Languages of Gender and Desire

Susan McNamara, M.D.

The articles in this issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry are presented in the interest of expanding the psychoanalytic consideration of the full range of psychosexual and gendered experience. These articles are richly evocative in many ways, spanning cultural and linguistic views of gender, as well as a variety of clinical and personal experiences. It is important to note that because of the commonplace use of the gender binary, male/female and man/woman, we do not attend to our category-making. Therein lies the power of such categories and the problem of such categories. No categories exist in nature; categories are a human creation, made collectively. Their importance lies in the ways in which categories are used (Baele, 2010). In various ways, each article in this issue brings our reliance on categories into focus, helping us think about the way we think—is gender a categorical division that is clear and bounded or does it entail prototypes with variations on those prototypes? The first article of the issue, by Nast, brings the categories of masculine and feminine into question over time and geographical space, in a compelling deconstruction of who has the phallus and where it resides.

In editing this issue, one of the practical problems that arose repeatedly was the use of language, especially, the use of pronouns, which was complicated by the cultural backgrounds of the authors. We have multiple intersections of language. For example, in Corbatta’s discussion of the movie XXY, the movie is Argentinean, so the dialogue is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

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