Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender

Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4090-9.ch002
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This chapter discusses feminist perspectives on sex and gender. The chapter starts by discussing feminist arguments against biological determinism and the claim that gender is socially constructed. Next, the chapter examines feminist critiques of prevalent understandings of gender and sex, and the distinction thereof. In response to these concerns, the final section of the chapter discusses how a unified women's category could be articulated for feminist political purposes illustrating at least two things: first, that gender is still very much a live issue and second, that feminists have not entirely given up the view that gender is about social factors and that it is in some sense distinct from biological sex. The jury is still out on what the best, the most useful, or the correct definition of gender is.
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2.1 The Gender / Sex Distinction

The terms sex and gender mean different things to different feminist theorists and neither are easy nor straightforward to characterise. Sketching out some feminist history of the terms provides a helpful starting point.

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