Simone de Beauvoir claimed, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Corresponding to this, one is not born, but rather becomes, a man. Beauvoir's claim is important because it is among the first statements in modern feminism to draw attention to “woman” as a social, rather than natural, category of being.

In the broadest sense, gender has been employed by social theorists to denote a distinction between the biological categories of female and male and the socially constructed categories of woman and man (or girl and boy). In this juxtaposition, while sex is assumed to represent a biological difference, gender is used to define those socially constructed feminine and masculine modes of behavior considered normal and natural for females and males. Thus, gender varies ...

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