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Authors

Robert Cahill

Abstract

For decades, feminist scholars engaged in discourses surrounding women as a biological and social identity. Scholars unpacked normative ideas of womanhood and gender, often drawing very different conclusions from one another. They theorized that womanhood was a social construction to ensure their subservient status to patriarchal institutions. The line between biological and social identity was and still is contentious between scholars. Writers like Judith Butler, Caroline Smith-Rosenberg, and Natalie Zemon Davis analyzed gender constructs in both a theoretical and historical sense and formed their analysis in different ways. Their work breaks down how medical orthodoxies created biological ideas of womanhood and how biology was used as a method to effectively enforce normative ideas of gender. This work seeks to compare the approaches of each scholar and their analysis of womanhood.

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