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Stoller, R.J. (1976). Primary Femininity. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 24S(Supplement):59-78.

(1976). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24S(Supplement):59-78

Primary Femininity

Robert J. Stoller, M.D.

IN THE PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF THE ORIGINS of femininity in females as first laid out by Freud, there is a stage unaccounted for in the chronology of the little girl's development: the first many months of life are not considered. We become aware of this, not by its being clearly stated, but rather more indirectly in writing style — e.g.,

At some time or other the little girl makes the discovery of her organic inferiority

(1931p. 232, italics added). Skipping over this gap grants the present-day analytic understanding of the psychology of women a substantial logic. But for it we pay too great a price; if we must ignore data in order to retain logic, then our explanation is flawed and should be modifed.

For Freud, the psychology of women opens with a sense of castration, as if what went on before, in the first year or so of life, did not contribute to the development of masculinity and femininity.

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