1990 Chicago Women in Publishing Honorable Mention Award
Gender Blending examines the social construction of gender and its implications for the lives of gender blending females and for society in general. Aaron Devor constructs a theory which interprets gender as a social distinction related to, but different from, biological sex. Devor 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 varying 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.