You are here

Questioning Gender

Questioning Gender
A Sociological Exploration

Third Edition
Additional resources:

December 2016 | 592 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

A one-of-a-kind text designed to launch readers into a thoughtful encounter with gender issues.


Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration, Third Edition serves as a point-of-departure for productive conversations about gender, and as a resource for exploring answers to many of those questions.  Rather than providing definitive answers, this unique book exposes readers to some of the best scholarship in the field that will lead them to question many of their assumptions about what is normal and abnormal. The author uses both historical and cross-cultural approaches—as well as a focus on intersectionality and transgender issues—to help students understand the socially constructed nature of gender.



Specific Areas of Interest
Preface to the Third Edition
About Questioning Gender
1 What Is Gender and Why Should We Care About It? Introducing Gender
Swimming With the Fishes: Learning to See Gender  
Sex or Gender? What’s the Difference?  
A Word About Biology and Strong Social Constructionism  
Why Study Gender?  
Works Cited  
2 What’s the “Sociology” in the Sociology of Gender? Understanding Sociology and Gender
Why Do You Need Theory to Understand Gender?  
Feminist Theories and Their Influence on Sociological Thinking About Gender  
Sociological Theories of Gender  
Sex Roles  
Interactionist Theories  
Institutional or Structural Approaches  
Intersectional Feminist Theory  
Putting It All Together: Integrative Theories  
Hegemonic Masculinity  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
3 How Do Disciplines Outside Sociology Study Gender? Some Additional Theoretical Approaches
Psychological Approaches to Gender  
Queer Theory  
Gender Theories in Global Perspective  
Ecofeminism and the Environment  
How Do We Use Theory?  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
4 How Do We Learn Gender? Gender and Socialization
Sorting It All Out: Gender Socialization and Intersex Children  
Some Theories of Gender Socialization  
The Early Years: Primary Socialization Into Gender  
Learning Gender Never Ends: Secondary Socialization  
What Happens to Gender as We Age?  
The Gender of Caregiving and Alzheimer’s  
Summing Up  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
5 How Does Gender Matter for Whom We Want and Desire? The Gender of Sexuality
Let’s Talk About Sex  
Does Sexuality Have a Gender?  
Measuring Sexuality: What Is Sexual Identity?  
Playing the Part? Sexual Scripts  
Violating the Scripts  
Sexuality and Power: Hetero-privilege in Schools  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
6 How Does Gender Impact the People You Spend Your Time With? The Gender of Friendship and Dating
Love, Inside and Outside the Family  
My Friend Jane Versus My Friend Joe: Who’s Better at Being Friends?  
Friendship in Global Perspective  
The Rules of Attraction  
The Gender of Love  
Summing Up  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
7 How Does Gender Matter for How We Think About Our Bodies? The Gender of Bodies and Health
A Brief History of Bodies  
The Beauty Myth  
Gender and Health: Risky Masculinity and the Superman  
Throwing Like a Girl  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
8 How Does Gender Impact the People We Live Our Lives With? The Gender of Marriage and Families
Something Old, Something New  
A Brief History of Marriage  
The Demographics of Marriage  
Who Does What? The Gendered Division of Labor  
The Doctrine of Separate Spheres  
The Division of Household Labor  
Families in Transition  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
9 How Does Gender Affect the Type of Work We Do and the Rewards We Receive for Our Work? The Gender of Work
What Is Work?  
Measuring the World’s Work  
A Man’s Job: Masculinity and Work  
The Glass Ceiling and the Glass Escalator  
Sex Segregation in the Workplace  
Explaining Sex Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap  
Transmen at Work  
Comparable Worth  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
10 How Does Gender Affect What You Watch, What You Read, and What You Play? The Gender of Media and Popular Culture
The Media: An Interesting Institution  
Media Power Theory: We’re All Sheep  
Transgender in the Media  
Gender, Sexuality, and Slash Fiction  
The Struggle Over Images  
Sexuality in the Media  
Soap Operas, Telenovelas, and Feminism  
Masculinity and Video Games: Learning the Three Rs  
The Battle of the Sexes and the Battle for the Remote Contro1  
The Gender of Leisure  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
11 How Does Gender Help Determine Who Has Power and Who Doesn’t? The Gender of Politics and Power
A Brief Warning  
Power: Good and Bad  
Coercive Power  
Gender Rights and Human Rights?  
Institutional Power: Nations and Gender  
Summing Up  
Big Questions  
Gender Exercises  
What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change  
Suggested Readings  
Works Cited  
About the Author


Instructor Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false,  and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
Gender and Sexuality Resources
SAGE Gender and Sexuality Resource Site is an open access site meant to enhance the teaching and learning environments in gender and sexuality courses. Video, podcast, and web links are provided for the following topic areas: 
  • Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  • Learning and "Doing Gender" 
  • Sexual Minorities
  • Sexual Violence and Commodification 
  • Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System 
  • Religion
  • Politics and Power
  • Families, Intimate Relationships, and Reproduction 
  • The Workplace
  • Health and Medicine
  • Education
  • Sports
  • Media and Popular Culture
  • Social Movements and Activism 
  • Gender and Sexuality Across Cultures

“I have adopted other gender texts and been dissatisfied. When I found Questioning Gender, I knew I needed to look no further. It has the theoretical foundation and research focus which are so important to me as well as an approachable style that incorporates global diversity and intersectionality.”

Kimberly M. Pitts
Campbellsville University

“I really like the inclusion of discussion questions and activities at the end of each chapter [of Questioning Gender]. Many of the books out there right now on the subject of gender are readers with diverse content (many times there are too many readings and abbreviated versions do not always read well), which I have found are more difficult for students to understand than a classic textbook. I also find that the book is also very easy to read and provides excellent examples of the concepts and theories that are explored.”

Patricia Neff Claster
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

“I like that the text focuses on questioning, something that can be difficult for some students. As primarily a sociology text, [Questioning Gender] covers some psychology and anthropology (and other social sciences) within it.”

Spencer Acadia
Stephen F. Austin State University

“I like [Questioning Gender] because it is approachable, it covers various theoretical perspectives, and I like how the text is organized.”

Renata Forste
Brigham Young University
Key features


  • What Can You Do? Resources for Social Change is a new end-of-chapter feature that offers online resources to students interested in pursuing or researching social change and activism on gender topics.
  • New theory tables have been included to help students organize and make sense of gender theories.
  • More tables and graphics have been included to demonstrate the latest research and statistics on gender.
  • Updated Cultural Artifact boxes offer currency with more contemporary material.
  • Updated discussions of doing gender and possibilities for undoing or re-doing gender.
  • More discussion of hegemonic masculinity as a theoretical approach along with other gender theories in Chapter 2.
  • Updated discussion of Gender and Development (GAD) theory now included in discussion of theories outside sociology in Chapter 3.
  •  A discussion of asexuality as a category of sexual identity and its gender implications now included in Chapter 5.
  • Up-to-date research on LGBT families now included in Chapter 8.
  • A discussion of the gendered effects of street harassment now included in Chapter 11.


  • Each chapter is filled with questions—starting with the chapter title itself—to promote active inquiry into the meaning and role of gender in our lives.
  • A firm grounding in sociology, along with theories from other disciplines, makes this text suitable for courses in sociology of gender, introduction to gender studies, or introduction to women’s studies.
  • Coverage of gender as a system of inequality demonstrates the real impact of gender beliefs on the lives of women and men around the world.

  • Vivid case studies in each topical chapter illustrate key concepts of the book, while Cultural Artifact boxes demonstrate how beliefs about gender have changed over time and how they vary across the world.

  • Student learning aids include exercises and suggested readings at the end of each chapter and a glossary at the back of the book.
  • Teaching resources include a test bank and the SAGE Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, a website with links to relevant multimedia from major news outlets, scholarly sources, and research organizations.

Preview this book

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental