chapter  10
13 Pages

Gender and queer theory

ByDonald E. Hall

Though commonly used, the term ‘gender theory’ is something of a misnomer or, at best, a euphemism. In reality, gender theory could more accurately be termed ‘sexuality theory’, because it explores the variety of ways that ‘gender’, our assignment to social roles in ways related to our biological sex, is connected intimately and variously to our experience of sexuality, and how that experience bears on our own and others’ identity. While gender theory is deeply indebted to feminist theory (see Chapter 9), it takes students and critics in very different directions. Building on its origins in the analysis of the differential valuations of women’s and men’s social roles, its speci c interests are the ways that sexuality, in its myriad forms, has been variously de ned, valued, prescribed and proscribed across time periods, social groups and world cultures. In short, gender theory examines critically the identity politics of sexuality.