The Psychology of Gender and Sexuality: An Introduction

By Wendy Stainton Rogers; Rex Stainton Rogers | Go to book overview

8
Aliens and
others

Cyborg monsters in feminist science fiction define quite different political
possibilities and limits from those proposed by the mundane fiction of
Man and Woman.

(Haraway 1991: 180)

Human creativity has long drawn on the imaginal and the material sexual possibilities provided by the diversity of living creatures. For instance, myth, magic, images and erotic literature are full of human-animal liaisons – possibly the most famous is Leda and the swan (Zeus in disguise). Yet even the most mundane aspects of human experience can hide in their names a history of the mysterious. Take nightmares, for example. This term comes from the Old English mare – an evil spirit. A nightmare is, etymologically, an evil spirit that troubles or suffocates the sleeper. In the altered states of consciousness known as the parasomnias we may sleepwalk and/or experience 'night terrors'. Parasomnia is an accepted psychiatric diagnosis (it has even been used as a successful defence against a charge of murder). The alternative word for the demonic sense of nightmare is incubus, a term also used for a male demon who has exhausting sex – for his partners that is – with sleeping women. A succubus, a female demon with similar proclivities, can visit men.

Historically, in psychology it is probably Jungian analytical psychology that has been most drawn to the study of humans, myth and magic (probably the easiest introduction is Jung 1964). But in the present day such myths are usually told as science fiction and science fantasy. In this chapter we will examine some of the ways in which science fiction and fantasy, as literary genres, allow us to explore alternative versions of gender and sexuality – and the issues and questions these explorations open up our understanding of them. We will be using science fiction as

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The Psychology of Gender and Sexuality: An Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Mainstream Psychological Approaches to Gender and Sexuality 9
  • 1: Biological Paradigms 11
  • 2: Social and Cultural Paradigms 37
  • 3: Interactive Paradigms 60
  • Part II - The Challenges to Mainstream Approaches 83
  • Introduction to Part II: Challenges 85
  • 4: Liberatory Challenges 93
  • 5: Feminist Challenges 120
  • 6: Postmodern Challenges 158
  • Part III - Applications of a Critical Approach 183
  • 7: Where's the Action? 185
  • 8: Aliens and Others 200
  • 9: Bodies 212
  • 10: Sex Crimes 229
  • 11: New Men, New Women, New Relationships? 242
  • Glossary 258
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 295
  • Health Psychology 306
  • Approaches to Psychology: 3rd Edition 307
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