Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality Abstract

Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality is a theoretical and practical examination of the implications of the social construction of gender in society and in the lives of gender blending females. It provides a deeper understanding of the social construction of gender for students and scholars as well as offering valuable insights to all women searching for ways to counter the stigma of being female in a patriarchal society without relinquishing claim to their womanhood. Theories and research about the biological bases for gender differences and similarities are discussed as a backdrop against which psychological and social theories of gender are reviewed and presented as explanations of the ways in which the political nature of social beliefs and practices become translated into the everyday life experiences of members of society.

Fifteen women who to varying degrees have rejected traditional femininity, but not their
womanhood, and who sometimes unintentionally found themselves mistaken for men in public places discussed their lives with the author. They were women who had learned that to be female in a patriarchal world is to be structurally secondary and personally vulnerable to violence and exploitation. They chose to minimize the stigma of their femaleness by minimizing their femininity. Their experiences as childhood tomboys and later as adults form the basis for an analysis of the meaning of womanhood and femininity in North American society.

Instructors of psychology, sociology and women’s studies courses will find that Gender Blending: Confronting the Limts of Duality provides a clear and straight forward review of issues of gender identity and gender role formation and evelopment. Gender scholars will be challenged by the work’s interdisciplinary approach and its analysis of the reflexive interaction of gender on both macrosocial and microsocial levels. Any woman who has ever been mistaken for a man, indeed, any woman who has ever questioned the value of her femininity, will find the experiences of these gender blending females relevant to her own quest for self-knowledge.

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