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Gender Blending:
Confronting the Limits of Duality

Holly Devor

1989, Indiana University Press

154 Pages

From the Cover

Gender Blending examines the social construction of gender and its implications for the lives of gender blending females and for society in general.  Holly Devor constructs a theory which interprets gender as a social distinction related to, but different from, biological sex.  She defines gender as a status learned by displaying the culturally defined insignia of the gender category with which one identifies.

Fifteen women who have to vary degrees rejected traditional femininity, but not their femaleness, discuss their lives with Devor.  These women, sometimes mistaken for men, choose to minimize their female vulnerability in a patriarchal world by minimizing their femininity.  During childhood, their reaction to their secondary status in society, as potential victims of violence and exploitation, was often to be a tomboy.  Now, in adulthood, their gender identity does not fit either of the two roles socially and culturally defined as feminine and masculine.

Gender Blending offers a deeper appreciation of the social construction of gender.  Any woman who has questioned the value of the concept of femininity will find the experiences of these gender blending females revealing and important to a view of woman's place in the patriarchy.

Table of Contents

1. Where It All Begins: The Biological Bases of Gender

2. Learning to Be Gendered: The Psychological Bases of Gender

3. Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender

4. Growing Up Gender Blending

5. Sexuality and Gender

6. Living with Gender Blending

7. Gender in Context

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