Masculinity and Femininity Today

Editor : Ester Palerm Mari, Editor : Frances Thomson-Salo

Part of Psychoanalysis and Women series - more in this series

Masculinity and Femininity Today

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : July 2013
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 186
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 33864
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780491905
  • ISBN 10 : 1780491905
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This book presents a wide range of psychoanalytic writing on masculinity and femininity from British, European, and North and South American perspectives, exploring how masculine and feminine aspects are structured and evolve in the child, adolescent and adult. The authors address from a background of considerable clinical experience how masculinity and femininity manifest in the body, gender, sex, sexuality and the life-cycle, and cover aspects both productive and generative, constricted and defended. The importance of the parenting couple and their bond with the child in the forming of masculine and feminine idenitities is emphasized.

Beginning with an overview of the development of masculinity, the developmental perspective is explored in how adolescents discover their sexuality and come to 'own' their sexual bodies. Different types of disturbance are explored including the early defence mechanism of disavowal of difference. The development of the masculine and feminine aspects of the psychoanalyst and how these aspects influence analytic work are considered, in particular the role of the male analyst in transformations of masculinity. The analyst must have sufficiently worked through his/her own mental bisexuality, to have internalized a good parental couple in order to be able to listen to the mental bisexuality of the patient. The book ends with a glimpse of the young child's struggle with issues of sexuality and difficulties in constructing a gender identity. The authors aim to explore what constitutes masculinity and femininity in an accessible way not only for psychoanalytic psychotherapists but also for the wider public.

Reviews and Endorsements

Published for the Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis (COWAP)

‘Ester Palerm Mari and Frances Thomson-Salo offer in this book a remarkable contemporary view of masculinity and femininity from a psychoanalytic perspective, putting together contributions from distinguished authors from different analytic cultures and theoretical origins. Among the many merits of their enterprise, the authors dig into the sometimes enigmatic universe of masculinity and allow us to have a clearer understanding of what it means to become a person with both masculine and feminine components, illustrating this journey with moving clinical material. The extreme relevance of these contributions for a better understanding of the analyst´s mind at work with his/her patients is clearly evidenced. For these reasons, I strongly recommend this stimulating work not only for analysts and students of this field, but to all those interested in having a comprehensive and fresh update of one of the most fascinating tasks of human development along the life cycle.’
- Claudio Laks Eizirik, past President of the International Psychoanalytical Association

‘Bringing together eleven authors’ views on the psychology of masculinity and femininity, this rich and diverse collection of essays gives readers a fresh look at what it means to become, to be and to perceive oneself as male or female. These essays illustrate how psychoanalytic deliberation around gender development is at its best when it provides objective clinical and theoretical perspectives about human nature in all its manifold expressions, unencumbered by the shibboleths of outdated prejudices and politically correct assumptions alike. I warmly recommend it to clinicians, teachers and students in the field of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.’
- Alexandra Billinghurst, Vice President-elect of the International Psychoanalytical Association and President of the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society

‘Following in the wake of COWAP’s creative endeavours this book confronts the tumultuous socio-cultural changes that are taking place in the fields of sexuality and gender identity, while maintaining the highest standards from a psychoanalytical perspective and thus surpassing the clamour of mere phenomenological aspects. Despite adhering to different theoretical models, all the authors, of both sexes, confirm that the “feminine question” is much more than a chapter – albeit revolutionary – in the history of psychoanalysis. Instead, it entails a profound reconsideration of the whole developmental process of the human being requiring, within the relational dimension between men and women, a re-examination of the masculine as well as the feminine aspects in the interaction and integration of the very early as well as the more evolved levels: a process that is still dramatically taking place today.’
- Simona Argentieri, Italian Psychoanalytical Association, and co-editor of Language, Symbolization, and Psychosis

About the Editor(s)

Ester Palerm Mari, MD and clinical psychologist, is a member of the Spanish Psychoanalytical Society (SEP), a component society of the International Psychoanalytical Association. Dr Palerm served on the Board of Directors of the SEP from 2008 to 2012. She was part of the staff of the Psychosomatic Unit at the Hospital de St. Pau i la Santa Creu in Barcelona and now has a private practice in Barcelona where she works as a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist for children, adolescents and adults. She has written papers on a diverse number of themes such as pregnancy, delivery, postpartum period and sexuality. Her COWAP-related activities include coordinating and participating in workshops at European COWAP conferences.

Frances Thomson Salo trained with the British Society as a child and adult psychoanalyst, is a Training analyst and past President of the Australian Psychoanalytical Society, Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association Committee of Women in Psychoanalysis, an editorial board member of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, a consultant infant mental health clinician at the Royal Women's Hospital and child psychotherapist at the Royal Children's Hospital, an Honorary Fellow of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, an Associate Professor on the faculty of the University of Melbourne Graduate Diploma for Infant and Parent Mental Health, and has published on child and infant-parent psychotherapy.

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