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Copyright (c) 2017 The Georgetown University
 The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law

ARTICLE: GENDER IN/SIGHT: EXAMINING CULTURE AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF GENDER

Spring, 2017

The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law

18 Geo. J. Gender & L. 43

Author

ADAM R. CHANG AND STEPHANIE M. WILDMAN *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Recently the New York Times asked, "Is gender flux a trend with legs or just a passing fancy?" 1 While the Times asked the question in the context of fashion, portraying ambiguously gendered models in the photo accompanying the story, feminist theorists have long been wrestling with anti-sex discrimination doctrine and the role of gender within those policies, rules, and practices used as aspiration for gender liberation and equality. 2 More recently, debates about the meaning of gender and gender roles have grown beyond the academy into fora as diverse as state legislatures and social media. 3 Gender in all its aspects is not going away.

In the summer of 2015, Merriam-Webster's on-line dictionary defined gender simply as: "[T]he state of being male or female." 4 The site offered a second definition, based on grammar, stating that gender fell into: "one of the categories (masculine, feminine, and neuter) into which words (such as nouns, adjectives, and pronouns) are divided in many languages." 5

Within just a few months, Merriam-Webster changed the definition to "a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms." 6 The website offered another definition, describing gender as having two subparts: "sex" and "the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically ...
 
 
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