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Abstract

Using the theoretical lens of postmodernist and queer theoretical perspectives of gender, this paper explores social mechanisms which serve to construct and reify the social stigma associated with gender nonconformity in Western society. The primary research question proposed for examination in this analysis is: How are acts of gender nonconformity, particularly the manipulation of masculinity, socially constructed as acts of transgression or deviance by language and discourse? Emphasis is placed upon the sociological purposes of a socially-constructed gender binary as well as the complex conceptual framework of traditional masculinity as the referent gender category. The concept of manipulated masculinities is also briefly explored as an affirmation of the problematic nature of the gender binary. Finally, the concepts of language and discourse are utilized to consider how acts of gender nonconformity are socially constructed as forms of gender transgression.

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