Psychodynamic Theory of Gender (Oedipus Conflict (Every boy will develop…
Psychodynamic Theory of Gender
Freud claims that gender identity develops at the same time as the superego, during the Phallic psychosexual stage
He says that the child identifies with the same sex parent in order for them to resolve inner conflicts.
of same sex gender roles
Every boy will develop sexual desires for his mother
Freud suggested the primal id wants to eliminate the father but the more realistic ego knows he is stronger
The boy then experiences castration anxiety - a fear of emasculation
Assumes that physical differences mean a females penis has been removed and the father will punish him for desiring his mother
To resolve the conflict, he identifies with his father
The super ego is formed and same sex gender roles become internalised
The Oedipus or Elektra complex is less than satisfactory
Briefly the girl desires the father, but realises she doesn't have a penis
Leads to the development of penis envy and the wish to be a boy
Resolves this by repressing the desire for their father and substituting the wish for a penis with the wish for a baby
Girl blames the mother for her 'castrated state'
These feelings are then repressed and identifies with the mother to take on the female gender role
Research doesn't support the Oedipus complex
The theory claims that sons of harsh fathers should have a stronger sense of gender identity due to the higher levels of anxiety experienced
Blakemore (2008): More liberal fathers were found to be associated with more securely masculine sons
Karen Horney: Claims that Freud included inadequate focus and representation of female development and should have considered 'womb envy'
Womb Envy - The reaction to women's ability to nurture life
Challenged that female gender was founded on a desire to be like men
Non nuclear families
The theory lacks temporal validity
Fails to take into account for gender development of people who grow up in non nuclear families
Freud says if you do not have both parents you cannot go through a complex successfully and will have a 'failed gender'
E.g. homosexuality or gender disorder
Research has disproved this
Golombok (1983): Children from single parent families went on to develop healthy gender identites
Green (1918): Studied 37 children raised by gay or transgender parents and discovered only one had a gender identity that was non typical
Karl Popper: The psychodynamic theory is pseudoscientific and does not contribute to science as it is not falsifiable