Phallus: A symbol or representation of the penis, particularly when used to signify power. Late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud identified the stage in which children become interested in their own sexual organs and in who has a penis as the phallic stage, a normal stage in the development not only of libidinal desire but also of human subjectivity more generally. Subsequently, twentieth-century French psychoanalytic critic Jacques Lacan viewed the phallus as the representative of a fraudulent power (male over female) whose “law” is a principle of psychic division (conscious / unconscious) and sexual differentiation (masculine / feminine). In works such as “La signification du phallus” (“The Signification of the Phallus”) (1958), Lacan argued that the phallus is a signifier with no inherent meaning; rather, power and meaning are ascribed to the phallus by individual societies in which the father is the namer and lawgiver. He also argued that the phallus governs the Symbolic order, the repository of generally held cultural beliefs.