Early second-wave feminists adopted the distinction between sex and gender to differentiate the socio-cultural meanings (masculinity and femininity) from the base of biological sex differences. Argument and evidence was accumulated to demonstrate that the body and its functionings are informed in interaction with society and culture. This withering away of sex was further strengthened by the linguistic turn in social and cultural theory which has sought to dismantle the distinction between words and things. See also poststructuralism and postmodernism. The concept of gender has been criticized on the grounds that the gendering of people, actions and things is always implicated in differences other than those of sex. Masculinity and femininity are constructed not alongside race, class, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality, but in and through these and other distinctions.

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