Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Gender Roles

  • Virginia GoldnerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_589


Throughout history and across cultures, gender is a category of identity that has been almost universally construed as a mutually exclusive opposition. Maleness and masculinity are culturally associated with agency, physicality, aggressiveness, assertiveness, separateness, logic, rationality, etc., while femaleness and femininity are associated with receptiveness, stillness, attachment, softness, passivity, emotionality, etc. While these binaries have softened in recent decades, gender as a binary is still central to the experience and social presentation of personhood. Individuals who do not “read” as normatively gendered, such as transpersons who “queer” or complicate gender (as opposed to those who successfully “cross”), remain confusing and threatening to others.

The either/or structure of the gender paradigm is an exemplification of Jay Haley’s “universal pathogenic situation,” in that it results in each individual creating a compliant, gender normative, false self...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Goldner, V. (1988). The treatment of violence and victimization in intimate relationships. Family Process, 37, 263–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Goldner, V. (1991). Toward a critical, relational theory of gender. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 1, 249–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Goldner, V. (2004). When love hurts: Treating abusive relationships. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 24, 346–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA