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Jacques Lacan

The Primacy of the Phallus

Lacan has often been accused of "phallocentrism." And it is true that he has asserted that "the phallus is the privileged signifier."[1]

Distinction between Phallus and Penis

The meaning of the term phallus, however, has often been misunderstood. The term phallus must be distinguished from the term penis. The penis is an organ of the body, but least of all an organ, a penis. The phallus symbolizes the penis and the clitoris. It is a signifier. In short, Lacan's distinction between the penis and the phallus enables Freud's biologistic account of male superiority and women's penis-envy to be explained in linguistic and symbolic, and thus historical terms.

See Also


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