Gender Theory

Rosanne Kennedy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Gender became a significant critical concept in the wake of developments in feminist theory in the early 1980s. In common usage, gender refers to socially constructed differences between men and women, while sex refers to biological differences. Feminist theorists have challenged this normative sex/gender distinction, arguing that sex, as well as gender, is culturally constructed. Informed by and contributing to developments in feminist theory, feminist literary critics have explored how gendered differences, meanings, and identities are produced in the novel and related discourses, and how subjects are positioned by those discourses. Although feminist critics initially used the concept of gender to refer exclusively to women, by the late 1980s “gender” was expanded to encompass masculinities and gay and lesbian identities, and sexuality became an increasingly important concept. Today gender, sex, and sexuality are contested concepts in and between the fields of feminist theory, queer theory, and masculinity studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of the Novel
    EditorsPeter Melville Logan
    Place of PublicationSussex, England
    PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9781405161848
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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