When Sex Became Gender is a study of post-World War II feminist theory from the viewpoint of intellectual history. The key theme is that ideas about the social construction of gender have its origins in the feminist theorists of the postwar period, and that these early ideas about gender became a key foundational paradigm for both second and third wave feminist thought. These conceptual foundations were created by a cohort of extraordinarily imaginative and bold academic women. While discussing the famous feminist scholarsSimone de Beauvoir, Margaret Meadthe book also hinges on the work of scholars who are lesser known to American audiencesMirra Komarovsky, Viola Klein, and Ruth Herschberger, The postwar years have been an overlooked period in the development of feminist theory and philosophy and Tarrant makes a compelling case for this era being the turning point in the study of gender.
About the Author
Shira Tarrant is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at California State University, Long Beach. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
1. Confronting the Bonds of Ideology: Feminist Theory in the Cold War Years 2. The Setting: Postwar Politics in Britain, France, and the United States 3. On the Path to Gender: Margaret Mead, Socialization, and Sex Role Ideology 4. Mirra Komarovsky: Functional Analysis and the Poignant Signs of Discontent 5. Viola Klein: Sociology of Knowledge and the So-Called Feminine Character 6. Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex 7. No Woman Is an Island: Ruth Herschberger and Postwar Pollination 8. When Sex Became Gender