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Emerging in the early 1990s, queer theory is informed by and indebted to feminism, social constructionism, and poststructuralism. Feminist thought and social constructionism view the social realm, and thus “reality,” as not something “out there,” external to the individual. Rather, one’s reality—one’s own worldview and truths about the world—is determined by social norms and the dominant ideology. Under this view, gender is not natural but socially constructed, informed by the dominant “rules” and norms governing gender. Individuals internalize these rules and thus come to strongly believe in gender difference—the notion that “man” and “woman” are biologically (or naturally) different from one another. This sex or gender binary organizes society accordingly. This binary preserves the status quo—the normative gender order, since subjects must fit into one ...

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