Friday, September 16, 2011

Susan McKenzie - Individuation and the Symbolism of Gender

"Mythologized and ritualized masculinity and femininity have varied from culture to culture and from ancient times to present time. All such myths and rituals have sought to express something elemental in our understanding of ourselves as conscious beings and the internal process that engages in the emergence of mind. Assigning roles in myth and ritual according to sexual anatomy is ubiquitous. It isn’t how these symbols are played out that is important to individuation; however that might be to women, the transgendered, and the homosexuals in recent history. What matters to the growth of human consciousness is that we are aware of the fluidly embodied nature of our gender and sexuality. We must differentiate the individual’s personal experiences with their gender and sexuality from a culture’s need to find symbolic expression and containment of such powerful aspects of human experience (see Douglas above, p. 99). Just as mind is not in us, we are in mind; gender is not in us, we are in gender. We are investing gender with meaning." (pp. 108-109)

Susan McKenzie (2010) Genders and Sexualities in Individuation: Theoretical and Clinical Explorations. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 55, pp. 91–111


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