A Subjective View on the Roles of Gender in Biology and Society

Category: Psychology
Last Updated: 15 May 2023
Essay type: Personal
Pages: 5 Views: 160
Table of contents

Psychoanalysis and Gender

This chapter has some interesting viewpoints on gender. It reaches into the unconscious to de- scribe gender roles, and also looks at a significant relationship between language and gender. The first section of the chapter describes Freud's views on gender. Freud developed the con- cept of the 'Oedipus complex.' Although there is clearly some logic behind it, the concept is ex- tremely odd. In analysis of the Oedipus complex, some have reached the theory that the male "rejection of 'femininity' may go a long way to explain some of men's mixture of longing for and fear of women and their need to dominate and control them" (T.G. 44). It is weird to me that gender roles and inequalities may originate from the male unconscious.

A common criticism, typically from women, on the Oedipal emphasis of the penis is that this is simply a defense of men. Critics argue that the "over-valuation of the penis was perhaps a de- fensive way of protecting himself from the anxieties about the authenticity of his own 'masculin- ity (T.G. 51). Although the emphasis of the male perspective is slightly bothersome to me, it should be considered that this concept was introduced by a male who is unfamiliar with feminin- ity and who is simply trying to make sense of the conditions of society.

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The second section of the chapter discusses Lacan's views. His major argument is that gender and language are linked, resulting from the need to 'sex' things. In opposition to other lan- guages, the English language is not typically seen as associated with gender. Lacan's theory goes far beyond the surface of language as he concludes "rational thinking and the subjectivity it creates through language are effectively phallic and therefore 'masculine.' The 'feminine' in language therefore becomes what is absent and lacking" (T.G. 51).

This reminded me of the hi- erarchy we discussed at the beginning of the semester between opposites, such as the sun and the moon, light and dark, men and women, and other "opposites." The sun is the source of light, while the moon is only a reflection of the sun's light, lacking the ability to produce its own light. Light is a form of brightness, and dark is the lack thereof. In this sense, women lack the phallus and society becomes highly problematic as women enter culture as "an absence or a lack" (T.G. 53).

The next section has both an important point about family and emotions. The first, being that "parenting should be fully shared between men and women" (T.G. 58). This idea greatly appeals to me, as I believe the male role in parenting is equally important as the female role. However, there are some issues in this, such as the fact that women receive maternity leave, and there- fore have more of an ability to spend time with the child. The second point is that women have more emotional connections than men.

It is more socially acceptable for women to express their emotions than for men to. This is significant because typically, injustices for women are the ones emphasized and recognized. The issue with men being denied the privilege of expressing emotion is that "they may become contemptuous of those people, women, who can express emotional needs, as a way of denying their own" (T.G. 60). This is a good explanation of why women are accused for being irrational and emotional. In comparison to men, it may appear that women are more emotional; however, this would simply be due to the fact that men work to cover their emotions.

Gender Relations

One of the first statements that really struck me was "we make our own gender, but we are not free to make it however we like" (Connell 74). The text accredits gender practice as the cause of the moon, light and dark, men and women, and other "opposites." The sun is the source of light, while the moon is only a reflection of the sun's light, lacking the ability to produce its own light. Light is a form of brightness, and dark is the lack thereof. In this sense, women lack the phallus and society becomes highly problematic as women enter culture as "an absence or a lack" (T.G. 53).

The next section has both an important point about family and emotions. The first, being that "parenting should be fully shared between men and women" (T.G. 58). This idea greatly appeals to me, as I believe the male role in parenting is equally important as the female role. However, there are some issues in this, such as the fact that women receive maternity leave, and there- fore have more of an ability to spend time with the child. The second point is that women have more emotional connections than men. It is more socially acceptable for women to express their emotions than for men to.

This is significant because typically, injustices for women are the ones emphasized and recognized. The issue with men being denied the privilege of expressing emotion is that "they may become contemptuous of those people, women, who can express emotional needs, as a way of denying their own" (T.G. 60). This is a good explanation of why women are accused for being irrational and emotional. In comparison to men, it may appear that women are more emotional; however, this would simply be due to the fact that men work to cover their emotions.

Gender Relations

One of the first statements that really struck me was "we make our own gender, but we are not free to make it however we like" (Connell 74). The text accredits gender practice as the cause of requires work, just as much as factory-based 'production does" (S.I.G. 80). Housewives do not sit around, so it is wrong to accuse them of being lazy and incapable of doing work. Following this dimension is emotional relations. This touches a lot on homosexuality.

One of the points brought up in class was mentioned. The argument that homosexuality is biological is invalid, as no homosexual gene has ever been discovered. Furthermore, as expressed before, gender par- tially develops as a consequence of environment; so it amazes me how certain individuals and groups can have so much anger towards homosexuals. The abuse they inflict on homosexuals, simply because they are different, is horrific.

The final dimension (symbolism, culture, discourse) is the one I found most significant. These concepts are the ones that people tend to overlook when discussing gender, but possess great value. The discussion about context brought me back to the entire idea of understandings. For instance, the section explains "When an American football coach yells at his losing them that they are 'a bunch of women', he does not mean that they can now get pregnant" (S.I.G. 83). Al- though it is clear that he does not think they can get pregnant, this could have several implica- tions depending on one's understanding. The coach says this as an insult; however, depending on one's understanding, this could be a compliment. There are plenty of women that could excel in football in my opinion. Any gendered statement can be left to interpretation.

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A Subjective View on the Roles of Gender in Biology and Society. (2023, May 15). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-subjective-view-on-the-roles-of-gender-in-biology-and-society/

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