Apr 1, 1993
The International journal of psycho-analysis
Rather than focus on the girl's phallic identification as a compensatory reaction to her femininity, I offer a conceptual framework through which to examine how the girl symbolically masters and elaborates her biologically unfolding sexuality. Presumably, because her genital inner space can be defined and filled only through the playful retention and expulsion of an external object, the girl's phallic identification paradoxically affords her the first experience of her genital femininity. Borne out of her genital stimulation at the oedipal threshold, the genital dress-rehearsal turns on outside gestures becoming registered as sensations inside her body. As a result of her dual experience, the girl is both phallic and vaginal, giver and receiver, father and mother. Through the magic of play, the girl renegotiates her oath of fidelity to her internal, pre-oedipal mother, while laying claim to the kind of sexual vibrancy that her external, oedipal mother shares with her oedipal father.