Portal:Gender studies

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Introduction

Multiple gender identity symbols stylized as the Olympic rings

Gender studies is a field for interdisciplinary study devoted to gender identity and gendered representation as central categories of analysis. This field includes women's studies (concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics), men's studies and queer studies. Sometimes, gender studies is offered together with study of sexuality.

These disciplines study gender and sexuality in the fields of literature, language, geography, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, cinema, media studies, human development, law, public health and medicine. It also analyzes how race, ethnicity, location, class, nationality, and disability intersect with the categories of gender and sexuality.

Selected article

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to the educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who wanted to deny women an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.

Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly in order to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume, but she died before completing it.

While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Although it is commonly assumed now that the Rights of Woman was unfavourably received, this is a modern misconception based on the belief that Wollstonecraft was as reviled during her lifetime as she became after the publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798). The Rights of Woman was actually well-received when it was first published in 1792. One biographer has called it "perhaps the most original book of [Wollstonecraft's] century".

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Selected biography

Gayle S. Rubin (born 1949) is a cultural anthropologist best known as an activist and influential theorist of sex and gender politics. She has written on a range of subjects including feminism, sadomasochism, prostitution, pornography and lesbian literature, as well as anthropological studies and histories of sexual subcultures.

Rubin coined the phrase "sex/gender system", which she defines as "the set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed sexual needs are satisfied".

Topics

Women's studies:
Female educationFeminine psychologyFemininityFeminismFeminist movementGirlHuman female sexualityMatriarchyMisogynyViolence against womenWomanismWomen's historyWomen's rights
Men's studies:
AndrocentrismBoyHuman male sexualityMale privilegeMasculine psychologyMasculinityMasculismMen's liberationMen's movementMen's rightsMisandryNon-westernized concepts of male sexualityPatriarchy
In society:
Division of labourEqualityIdentityInequalityGender-neutralityGender rolePassingPrescriptions regarding gender rolesSociology of gender
Theories:
Feminist theoryGender binaryGender performativityQueer theorySex and gender distinction
Gender variance:
AndrogynyAtypical gender roleChildhood gender nonconformityCisgenderCross-dressingDragGender identity disorderGenderqueerThird genderTransgenderTranssexual

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WollstonecraftVindicationWomanTitle.jpg

Title page from the first edition of Rights of Woman

Did you know?

...that epicene is a word referring to a lack or loss of gender distinction?
...that the term gender role was coined by John Money?
...that Cicero wrote that "a man's chief quality is courage"?
...that Harry Benjamin created a scale to classify gender-variant behavior in male-assigned people?

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