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1. In the PHALLIC stage, children develop gender-specific behaviour alongside developing the SUPEREGO. This happens when they identify with (become) the same-sex parent…
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  • 1. In the PHALLIC stage, children develop gender-specific behaviour alongside developing the SUPEREGO. This happens when they identify with (become) the same-sex parent through either the OEDIPUS COMPLEX (boys) or the ELECTRA COMPLEX (girls). THE OEDIPUS COMPLEX Oedipus was a Greek mythical figure who killed his father and married his mother, although he was unaware of the relationships. Freud used this myth to explain his idea about the relationship between boys and their parents during the PHALLIC STAGE (focus of pleasure and sexual energy is the genitals, where gender, superego, and conscience develop). Freud was hearing about sexual issues related to parents when children were around 4 or 5 years old. Freud explained this sexual focus by showing that the genitals were the area for sexual pleasure at the phallic stage at this age. Freud concluded that boys had sexual feelings for their mother, though UNCONSCIOUSLY. This led to feelings of guilt and also fear of the father, whose place the boy wanted to take. The fear took the form of CASTRATION FEAR. Such fear and guilt was hard to reconcile so they boy resolved the conflict (the desires of the ID conflicting with the conscience of the SUPEREGO) by identifying with and ‘becoming’ his father. IDENTIFICATION is a key concept in the phallic stage. By identifying with his father, the boy takes on the father’s beliefs and values. The boy develops a superego with a conscience and ego ideal, all learnt from his father. He also develops his gender identity, doing what his father does because he ‘is’ his father. The boy therefore,
  • 2. takes on the masculine BEHAVIOUR of the father in order to resolve the Oedipus complex. THE ELECTRA COMPLEX Girls also focus on the genitals in the phallic stage and have feelings for their father. They understand they do not have a penis and develop PENIS ENVY, though this feeling is not as strong as castration fear so girls do not identify with their mothers to resolve their feelings as strongly as boys identify with their fathers. The girl focuses on her father because she thinks he will give her a penis. Some theorists have said that the replacement for a penis is a baby, so the girl unconsciously wants a baby and that is why she wants her father. Other theorists suggest that it is male power that a girl wants from her father. For one reason or another the girl wants her father, feels guilty about these UNCONSCIOUS feelings and resolves the demands of the ID (the feelings) and the SUPEREGO (the guilt) by identifying with her mother, taking on the female NORMS, BEHAVIOUR and BELIEF to resolve the Electra complex. Describe how Freud explained that a boy learns appropriate gender behaviour (6 marks)
  • 3. NOTE: You will need to be able to compare psychodynamic ideas about how gender develops with the explanations of the biological and learning approaches.
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