June 25, 2012

The Transgender Jung

Carl G. Jung
On using  Carl Gustav Jung's model of the psyche to describe transgender experiences.

I have posted a few articles where I have been using the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung to discuss the transgender psyche.

Only one post remains, but before I publish that one, I would like to take a look at to what extent Jung discussed transgender conditions.

Here are all the posts in the transgender psychology series:
1: The Role of the Unconscious
2: The Ego and the Complexes
3: The Shadow
4: The Animus and the Anima
5: The Other Side of your Transgender Soul - from Dostoyevski to Buffy the Vampire Slayer
6: Transgender and the mind and body conundrum
7: Spellbound transgender
8: Ponyo for Crossdreamers
9: Falling in love with your own anima

See also guest post by  Jocelyn Muchlinski: Waking Up the Anima – Jung Applied to Transgender Women

Jung ignored the transgender

Did Carl Gustav Jung himself say anything about crossdreamers, crossdressers or transvestites?

As far as I can see, he did not.

That is a bit peculiar, really, as there had already been  published some interesting research on trasvestites in Berlin, which might have given him some input on his discussion on the crossgender nature of the collective  unconscious (Magnus Hirschfield: Die Transvestiten 1910)

June 18, 2012

Sex and Gender: Different but the Same

A new line of biological research turns the model of the interaction between the brain, sex and gender upside down.

I have written quite extensively on the research on sex and gender on this blog, focusing on both the biological and socio-cultural factors that may or may not influence gender development.

What I have learned from all of this is (1) that gender roles and behavior are predominantly influenced by cultural factors, while (2) sex identity (the sense of being a man, a woman or neither) has a much stronger biological basis.

The story so far.

So far biological research on the interaction between the body, the brain, the embodied sex and gender expressions has been based on the idea that sex identity (the sense of self) is based in unique properties of the brain.

That is: Due to prenatal hormonal influences, the brains of men and women are different, and this makes them men or women, not only on the outside, but also -- to a more limited extent -- psychologically.

Secondly, natural scientists tend to believe that much of our gendered behavior is partly influenced by this core identity, in the sense that women are -- for instance -- more likely to express empathic traits and men analytic capabilities, on average and statistically speaking.

All serious researchers in this field accepts that much of our gendered behavior is heavily influenced by culture as well, though. I have so far seen only one study that tries to prove that women prefer pink for biological reasons. (God, that was a stupid study!!!)

I have become more and convinced that much of what we consider "natural" behavior gender wise, is indeed cultural.

Much of this is caused by the fact that I live in  a country where women are found in all types of work. The fact that women now dominates universities tells me that the old idea that women are less analytical than men makes little sense.

It is not that long ago that a woman who wanted to go to university would be diagnosed as a hysteric and sent to a sanatorium.

Why do not men and women differ more from each other?

The new radical approach to sex and gender does not ask what makes men and women behave differently.

These researchers ask the following questions: Given the fact that men and women differ significantly body wise (size, muscle strength, hormonal balance, sex organs, the ability to develop a fetus etc), why is their behavior so similar?

June 8, 2012

Some Thoughts on Cross Dressing

Today I have the pleasure of presenting an essay written by Davida, a fellow male to female crossdreamer.  I think this essay presents a very useful approach towards developing an understanding of what crossdressing and crossdreaming is about.

There are a lot of crossdreamers and crossdressers out there that work hard on finding a narrative that makes sense for people like us. If you have done research of a similar kind, do not hesistate to contact me.


Some Thoughts on Cross Dressing

By David/Davida

As a young adult and as a student of behavior, I read extensively in an attempt to find an explanation for my cross dressing behavior. Several psychological hypotheses were proposed in the literature but I did not find any of them to be compelling.


While I don’t think it is an explanation for cross-dressing, one hypothesis that resonated somewhat with me was what is called petticoating or pinaforing. Petticoating is feminizing (cross dressing) males as a method of discipline and control. 

The basic hypothesis is that petticoating was used as a maternal discipline technique or punishment that relied on eliciting humiliation and submission to discipline a boy. This experience it is proposed leads to the boy becoming a cross dresser. 

The woman petticoating a boy calls him her sissy boy, which through association becomes a verbal trigger for the same feelings of humiliation and submission aroused through the actual petticoating.

This hypothesis in another permutation substitutes an older sister or other female relative such as an aunt for the mother. A final permutation proposes a role for the practice in older males in which the petticoating is applied by a girlfriend, spouse or even a relative stranger such as a neighbor.

I don’t think that this hypothesis accounts for cross-dressing as a behavioral phenomenon. I don’t believe that I was subjected to petticoating as a young child and don’t have any recollection of it, if it occurred. 

June 6, 2012

Falling in love with your own anima

Betty Boop falls in love
There i an interesting parallel between Carl Jung's anima-theory (that each man has an unconscious feminine side) and Ray Blanchard's autogynephilia-theory (that some men get aroused by the idea of having a woman's body).

A man will repress not only associated with what he and his culture considers the negative nature of woman, Jung argues. His anima will also be projected onto other women.

His unconscious misogyny may, for instance,  turn many of the women he meets  into stupid airheads.

But he will also project his inner ideal woman, i.e. the image of the beautiful, loving, merciful and perfect woman.

As Jung points out the man projects his own feminine side onto a woman, and then falls head over heals in love with her!

Yes, according to Jung infatuated love is indeed autoerotic, but unlike Ray Blanchard  -- who believes that it is only the "autogynephilac" who can fall in love with the image of himself as a woman,  Jung believes this applies to all men.

At this point it becomes, of course, meaningless to label this as a sexual perversion.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!