Full Text

Gender Theory


Subject Literature
Religion » Judaism

Place Middle and Near East » Israel

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics literary history, nationalism, novel and novella

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161848.2011.x


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. Etymologically, there is a close relationship between gender and genre , both terms of classification that derive from the medieval French gendre . The novel, a capacious and elastic genre , has been a vital representational form for articulating, naturalizing, and challenging understandings of gender and gender relations, rhetorics of gender, as well ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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