Gender, Culture, and Physicality
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Gender, Culture, and Physicality

Paradoxes and Taboos
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Gender, Culture and Physicality explores and challenges cultural obstacles associated with gendered meanings given to physicality, or bodies in action. The authors argue that these meanings reflect cultural attitudes toward women and men and shape people's choices, but can be changed through conscious "degendering."
Although a plethora of scholarship analyzes gender dynamics, this book seeks to explore the paradoxes and taboos associated with gendered meanings given to human bodies in action, or "physicality." Physicality provides a particularly clear playing space for developing concepts of gender identity, structures, and cultural meanings. When people think about gender differences, they often refer to those associated with physicality, such as giving birth or playing contact sports. Helen M. Sterk and Annelies Knoppers attend to the meanings and values given to human bodies in motion that reflect cultural respect-or disrespect-for what is seen as "womanly" in particular times and places. In doing so, they show how these meanings can reinforce or challenge common ways of doing gender that, at first glance, may not seem to be related to physicality.

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