Gender Acquisition and its Implications

A look at how psychoanalysis, social constructionism and post-structuralism define being a woman and the implications of this.

This paper uses Simone Beauvoir’s pioneering claim ‘one is not born a woman, but, rather becomes one? as a beginning point in critically examining different theories which propose how one becomes a woman, not necessarily due to her biology. It addresses psychoanalysis, social constructionism and poststructuralism and takes Freud and Chodorow as exemplars of psychoanalysis, Oakley as an exemplar of the social constructionism perspective and Butler as an exemplar of the poststructuralist position. It aims to critically engage with the theories of these writers and attempts to establish the implications that each one carries towards our understanding of gender inequalities.
“Beauvior’s pioneering work became central to all subsequent theories on gender. A number of writers developed theories, which were based on the same tenants as Beauvior’s ideas. The theories in question can be divided into the three broad frameworks of psychoanalysis, social constructionism and poststructuralism. Examining the work of every writer associated with these positions goes well beyond the scope of this work. Hence this work shall be selective by taking Freud and Chodorow as exemplars of psychoanalysis, Oakley as an exemplar of social constructionism and taking Butler as an exemplar of the poststructuralist position. This work shall aim to critically engage with the theories of these writers and attempt to establish the implications that each one carries towards our understanding of gender inequalities.”