The theory and politics of gender have been transformed in the past twenty years by the advent of modern feminism.* All recent discussions of sex and gender have to be understood in this context. In psychology, feminism has been a major reason for the interest of female researchers in work in this area. More generally, feminism has problematised descriptions of gender roles and explanations of gender development, making them into value dimensions on which psychologists take up positions. Feminism has had, if anything, an even more profound impact on psychoanalysis. The strength of this impact is due partly to the assault made by feminists on traditional psychoanalytic practice (e.g. Figes, 1970) and, perhaps more importantly, to the use feminists have made of psychoanalytic theories in explaining how femininity and masculinity become constructed (see Frosh, 1987, chapter 7).
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