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Jones, B.P. (2001). Who's That Girl? Who's That Boy?: Clinical Practice Meets Postmodern Gender Theory: Lynne Layton, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1998. 268 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 70(4):905-907.
(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(4):905-907
Who's That Girl? Who's That Boy?: Clinical Practice Meets Postmodern Gender Theory: Lynne Layton, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1998. 268 pp.
Review by: Barbara P. Jones
In Who's That Girl? Who's That Boy?: Clinical Practice Meets Postmodern Gender Theory, Layton sets out to explore the tensions between postmodern theories of gender and relational psychoanalytic theory (object relations, intersubjective theory, self psychology, and relational conflict theory). She is clearly superbly qualified to take on this task, demonstrating a firm and nuanced grasp of postmodern theory, as well as a comfortable command of the varieties of relational analytic theory. Add to this a clear, unpretentious writing style and an interest in a wide range of cultural products—film, books, pop music, and videos—and the result is an unusual, hearty, and stimulating read.
Layton is primarily interested in something that relational feminists and postmodern feminists have in common:
I want to argue that all of them are interested in gender identity formation only as it informs a larger project: to ground the possibility of a fluid, agentic, heterogeneous self that recognizes its own multiplicity (gendered and otherwise), that does not defensively foreclose on its own (or another's) multiplicity, and that can recognize and be recognized by an other both like and different from the self…. my sense is that what their projects have in common is their search for a way out of the narcissistic binds that sexism and other forms of oppression impose. [p. 31]
Indeed, the title of the second chapter, “Beyond Narcissism: Toward a Negotiation Model of Gender Identity,” might serve as the book's subtitle.
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