What even is 'gender'?


(Added April 2023: This draft is superseded by Briggs, R.A., & George, B.R. (2023). 'What Even Is Gender?'. Routledge. DOI 10.4324/9781003053330, and in particular by the first three chapters thereof. While this much earlier draft remains available for archival purposes, you are encouraged to read and cite the 2023 book and to use its terminology.) This paper presents a new taxonomy of sex/gender concepts based on the idea of starting with a few basic components of the sex/gender system, and exhausting the possible types of simple associations and identities based on these. The resulting system is significantly more fine-grained than most competitors, and helps to clarify a number of points of confusion and conceptual tension in academic and activist conversations about feminism, transgender politics, and the social analysis of gender.

Author's Profile

B. R. George
Carnegie Mellon University


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