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Tip: To use Pocket to save bookmarks to PEP-Web articles…

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Pocket (formerly “Read-it-later”) is an excellent third-party plugin to browsers for saving bookmarks to PEP-Web pages, and categorizing them with tags.

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Maguire, M. Dewing, H. (2007). New Psychoanalytic Theories of Female and Male Femininity: The Oedipus Complex, Language and Gender Embodiment. Brit. J. Psychother., 23(4):531-545.

(2007). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 23(4):531-545

New Psychoanalytic Theories of Female and Male Femininity: The Oedipus Complex, Language and Gender Embodiment

Marie Maguire and Hilary Dewing

This edited interview explores the clinical applications of recent critiques of oedipal theories of ‘femininity’. We discuss new thinking about language, sexuality and how we symbolize gender through our bodies, illustrating the influence of neuro-psychoanalysis (Solms & Turnbull 2002) and post-Lacanian theory (Irigaray 1977; Grosz 1994). Radical challenges to the use of ‘binary’ categories, including masculinity/femininity, are considered, and we note that dispensing with such terminology impedes discussion of gender inequality. We explore intersubjective (Benjamin 2000) and philosophical (Butler 2000) perspectives on gender as the site for enactments of trauma (Harris 2000), along with the role of unmourned loss in the creation of heterosexual femininity. Clinical examples are counterposed: contemporary theory on male ‘femininity’ and hysteria, with recent thinking about female ‘masculinity’. We conclude that we may be reaching an impasse - the end of a golden age of theorizing about sexual identity - because of the current limitations and contradictions of psychoanalytic language and theory.

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