How did the term "sex" develop into "gender"? And is it really true that a vibrant feminist movement disappeared entirely after suffrage gains were won, only to suddenly resurface in the late 1960s?
Conventional wisdom tells us that feminism died during the mid-twentieth century, but this version of the story is not entirely true. When Sex Became Gender brings to light dominant ideals about sex roles and the feminist critiques these generated in the years between World War II and the women's liberation movement of the 1960s. And in contrast with current books that drive a wedge between feminist generations, When Sex Became Gender highlights the continuities between postwar interest in sex roles and contemporary arguments about gender.
By establishing the historical and theoretical connections between feminist eras, Shira Tarrant shows how protofeminist ideas of the past served as the foundation for today's focus on the social construction of gender.