PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Electra Complex, Gender Identity, Neurology
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Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
Psychoanalytic and developmental perspectives
● Freud’s theory of psychosocial development
- Freud, founder of psychoanalysis: Gender identity is developed in stages through
experiences in infancy, as propelled by body. He was a neurologist who was trying to
understand the mind, how the unconscious influences our actions and thoughts.
o The biological components of us are only the raw material.
o ‘Oedipal crisis’ for boys: Fear of castration makes the boy detach themselves
from their mothers to attach themselves to their father because they can help
them go through this crisis.
o ‘Electra complex’ for girls: Girls are envious of the penis because they value it
so much, every description is attached to it.
o For example, we hear about crisis in some parts of the world (Iraq, Iran, etc.),
and we try to understand them. We will be told that something happened and
the people grew up in refugee camps and in a world of war. It is normal for
them, the environment counts.
- Root of psychosocial theories
- A shift from biology to social explanation
- Dislocates gender and sexuality from biology
- Links gender identity to sexual orientation (homosexuality is not a biological anomaly
or an immoral issue).
- Restates (supports) traditional gender stereotypes
- Overgeneralization, universalistic and essentialist
- Androcentric theory; The focus is on men and not women, they are concentrating on
male achieving their masculinity.
- Ahistorical explanations (ignored social conditions in Austria; Europe was highly
- Cannot be tested scientifically (based on narratives, sample was middle class and
abused women with mental issues).
o Class, race and men; those are the criteria for the theories made in that era.
o He should have a representative sample of the society to create his theory
because it isn’t all the women in middle class that were abused.
- Sees gender identity as an achievement: traumatic for boys / develops values of
connectivity, intimacy and community in girls.