Critical Femininities: The Development and Application of Femme Theory

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Hoskin, Rhea A.
Critical Femininities , Intersectionality , Femme Theory , Femme Identity , anti-femininity , discrimination , prejudice , sexual minorities , LGBTQ , aggression , femmephobia
Despite the accumulating evidence to warrant the deliberate consideration of femininity, there has been a continued neglect of femininity as an important intersectional axis. In addition, despite the numerous manifestations of oppression based in femininity (e.g. slut-shaming, sissyphobia, effemamania, femiphobia, misogynoir, trans-misogyny), there has yet to be an examination and application of how these systems relate and inform one another. This collection of articles argues that these sources of oppression are different symptoms of the same underlying social prejudice: the devaluation of femininity. Consequently, over the course of the three iterative chapters, I establish Femme Theory as a theoretical framework that requires bringing feminine multiplicities and feminine devaluation into focus within interdisciplinary and intersectional research. In so doing, this dissertation proposes and facilitates the growth of Critical Femininities as an emergent field of inquiry in which feminine intersections are central to understanding the ebbs and flows of power, particularly in relation to social inequalities. This dissertation contributes to the growth of a field of Critical Femininities through the development of Femme Theory, its subsequent illumination and refinement using a qualitative approach, to finally applying Femme Theory using quantitative methodologies. Consequently, this dissertation develops a theoretical framework that makes central the roles of femininity and femmephobia in making sense of social realities, while highlighting the importance of an intersectional approach that not only includes race, gender, class, and sexuality, but also gender expression and, more specifically, femininity.
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