Stoller advances his belief in “Primary Femininity,” the initial orientation of both biological tissue and psychological identification toward feminine development

Posted: November 14, 2010 in 2010

In Sex and Gender (1968), Stoller articulates a challenge to Freud’s belief in biological bisexuality. Drawing on his extensive research with transsexuals and new advances in the science of sex, Stoller advances his belief in “Primary Femininity,” the initial orientation of both biological tissue and psychological identification toward feminine development. This early, non-conflictual phase contributes to a feminine core gender identity in both boys and girls unless a masculine force is present to interrupt the symbiotic relationship with the mother.

Stoller identifies three components in the formation of core gender identity, an innate and immutable sense of maleness or femaleness usually consolidated by the second year of life:

  1. Biological and hormonal influences;
  2. Sex assignment at birth and
  3. Environmental and psychological influences with effects similar to imprinting.

Stoller asserts that threats to core gender identity are like threats to sense of self and result in the defenses known as the perversions.

I just stumbled upon this. I share this idea of “primary femininity”. To paraphrase de Beauvoir, “One is not born a man, one becomes a man”, though the early trauma of emotionally violent separation from the feminine.

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