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Gender Issues Essay

According to Elisabeth Horst, Erik Erikson’s theories pertaining to identity and intimacy disconcerns sexual differences. The primary consensus of several writers concludes that Erikson believes that women rely on marriage to develop their identity. This was written at a time when differences in sexes were treated as afterthoughts. He based his theories on the masculine version of experience. Yet Erikson did not portray women as inferior. There seems to be a conflict in underemphasizing women’s roles and overemphasizing women’s roles and overemphasizing their role in the social system.

Very little was written about women in this time. One author (Marcia, 1980) implicated that intimacy becomes more of a feminine task and identity demonstrates a masculine task. Orlosfsky (1977) defines the masculine traits such as independence, autonomy, and assertiveness even more important to forming identity than the more feminine characteristics of warmth, tenderness, and understanding. Some writers disagree with Erikson’s theory of human development because they considered him to be a sexist.

His writings involved the masculine aspect more than the feminine side in his studies. Horst, E. A. (1995). Reexamining Gender Issues in Erikson’s Stages of Identity and Intimacy. Journal of Counseling & Development, 73 (3), 271-278. Marcia, J. (1980). Identity in Adolescence. In J. Adelson (Ed. ), Handbook of Adolescent Psychology. New York. Wiley. Individuation and Attachments Many feminist critize Erik Erikson’s theory because of neglect or misprotrayal of female experience. He seems to presume that identity precedes intimacy.

This seems to add limitations to his universal theory of human development. Even though he includes trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity, intimacy, generativity, and integrity into his theories. Erikson demonstrates the stages of life as: (I) Infancy showing trust vs mistrust ages 0-16 months (II)Early Childhood 17-36 months (III) Play Age (IV)School Age 6-12 (V) Adolescent (VI) Young Adult (VII) Adulthood (VIII) Mature Age It appears as if Erikson did not elaborate on attachment during infancy and childhood, thus the need to apply the notions of Jean Piaget.

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