Gender Identity - History - Conceptual Origins

Conceptual Origins

In 1905, Sigmund Freud presented his theory of psychosexual development in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Freud gave evidence to the fact that in the pregenital phase children do not distinguish between genders or sexes: they assume both parents have the same genitalia and the same reproductive powers. On this basis, he inferred that bisexuality is the original sexual orientation, and that heterosexuality is resultant of repression during the phallic stage, at which point gender identity is ascertainable. According to Freud, during this stage, children develop an Oedipus complex where they have sexual fantasies for the parent ascribed the opposite gender and hatred for the parent ascribed the same gender. This hatred transforms into (unconscious) transference and (conscious) identification with the hated parent who both exemplifies a model to appease sexual impulses and threatens to castrate the child's power to appease sexual impulses. In 1913, Carl Jung proposed the Electra complex as he both believed that bisexuality did not lie at the origin of psychic life, and that Freud did not give adequate description to the female child. This proposal, however, was rejected by Freud.

During the 1950s and '60s, psychologists began studying gender development in young children, partially in an effort to understand the origins of homosexuality (which was viewed as a mental disorder at the time). In 1958, the Gender Identity Research Project was established at the UCLA Medical Center for the study of intersexuals and transsexuals. Psychoanalyst Robert Stoller generalized many of the findings of the project in his book Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity (1968). He is also credited with introducing the term gender identity to the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Stockholm, Sweden in 1963. Behavioral psychologist John Money was also instrumental in the development of early theories of gender identity. His work at Johns Hopkins Medical School's Gender Identity Clinic (established in 1965) popularized an interactionist theory of gender identity, suggesting that, up to a certain age, gender identity is relatively fluid and subject to constant negotiation. His book Man and Woman, Boy and Girl (1972) became widely used as a college textbook, although many of Money's ideas have since been challenged. In the late 1980s, Judith Butler began lecturing regularly on the topic of gender identity and, in 1990, published her seminal work Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, which imported significant contributions from philosophy after the late 1950s and led to a radical critique of the inadequacies in feminism. Butler's central thesis argues that gender identity does not oppose sexual biology but, on the contrary, performs the possibility of something otherwise than male or female. Gender Trouble is often regarded as the most groundbreaking work on feminist theory and gender studies.

Read more about this topic:  Gender Identity, History

Other articles related to "conceptual origins":

History Of Nanotechnology - Conceptual Origins - K. Eric Drexler
... In 1979, Drexler encountered Feynman's provocative 1959 talk "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" ... The term "nanotechnology", which had been coined by Taniguchi in 1974, was unknowingly appropriated by Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which proposed the idea of a nanoscale "assembler" which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity ...

Famous quotes containing the words origins and/or conceptual:

    Grown onto every inch of plate, except
    Where the hinges let it move, were living things,
    Barnacles, mussels, water weeds—and one
    Blue bit of polished glass, glued there by time:
    The origins of art.
    Howard Moss (b. 1922)

    Our acceptance of an ontology is, I think, similar in principle to our acceptance of a scientific theory, say a system of physics; we adopt, at least insofar as we are reasonable, the simplest conceptual scheme into which the disordered fragments of raw experience can be fitted and arranged.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908)