Monday, September 14, 2009


Opening the 2009-10 Program Series of Tampa Bay Psychoanalytic Society, Inc. was Bruce Reis, PhD, relational faculty at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and a contributing editor to Studies in Gender and Sexuality. His talk “Reconsidering Masculinity” aimed to dismantle the monolithic model of heterosexual masculinity and showcased his most recent book (co-edited with Robert Grossmark) Heterosexual Masculinities.

Loosening the rigid normative of heterosexual masculinity, Reis hopes to open to multiplicity the long held (Greenson, Stoller, Elise, Chodorow) conception that boys must repudiate the feminine in order to become masculine. Elise, in particular, writes about the fear of penetration and the defenses against it (the “citadel complex”), but Reis cites Kaftal’s criticism: Elise does not take into account the paradoxes of gender, as if penetration were binary and as if fear of penetration were masculine. Diamond reminds us that there is a pre-oedipal identification with both parents and that gender identification with the same sex parent is not the whole story.

If there, as infant research is beginning to elucidate, no primary fusion with the mother, then there is no need to propose that separation from the mother is the role of the father. Father need no longer be cast as “the other” parent. Father’s presence may be playful, erotic (open to delight, pleasure, excitement, indulgence), and nurturing, making it unnecessary to conceive that boys must repudiate the nurturing mother. In other words, as Person writes, there is a plurality of masculinities.

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