Sex-Based Generalization in Freud

Essay by Lord666University, Bachelor'sA, March 1996

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In 'Boys and girls: The development of gender roles,' Beale gives us

revealing overview of Freud's personality theory. Beale point out both

strengths and weaknesses of his answer to the questions of 'Why' and 'How'

in gender development, but still leaves a chance for a reader to make up

her/his own mind about whether or not to accept Freud's theory. It is

relatively easy, however, to find oneself torn between openheartedly going

along with Freud's idea about the existence of a dynamic system (or libido)

in us, and reacting against the ease and assurance with which Freud writes

about castration fear in boys and penis envy in girls.

Freud's view of personality as a dynamic system of psychological

energy is a very complex, yet insightful approach to the development of

personality. The nature of the id, ego, and superego, and the psychosexual

stages that these three structures focus on during a course of one's

development, give a plethora of reasons to believe in the existence of a

critical period in gender development.

Freud's theory suggests that the way

in which the id, ego, and superego evolve and the way in which they

proliferate in the first six years of a child's life will influence the

child's emotional attachment to her/his parent of the same sex and, as

consequence, the child's gender identification.

I would agree with Freud's statement that children undergo a certain

emotional crisis after becoming aware of their genitals. It must be somewhat

frustrating for, e.g., a three year-old to realize that reaching a

pleasurable emotional state does not necessarily have to originate from

her/his mother. Unable to cognitively create an explanation to a new,

unexpected flow of circumstances and feelings, the child is most likely to

end up confused. This confusion will inevitably provoke anxiety, and...