Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Kathryn Hausbeck

Number of Pages



How does language structure patriarchy? How are gendered language and creation story imagery evidenced in contemporary debates on gay marriage? Helene Cixous suggests that Western thought is organized around binary, hierarchical oppositions---the most fundamental of which are male over female and masculine over feminine. Language and its connections to psychological and her/historical origins are central to her work. Cixous suggests that the separation of male and female, masculine and feminine, result in a war of sexual difference. I explore these themes with a feminist deconstruction of Internet sites in support of and against gay marriage. I then utilize Cixous's feminine writing to approach these issues through short dramatic and autoethnographic texts; My exploration suggests that the language and strategies of those supporting gay marriage actually serve to reinforce the same patriarchal structures that oppose gay marriage. In particular, the language of sex, gender, and sexuality gives rise to confusion which serves the interests of those opposing gay marriage, and the oppositional nature of the debate bolsters modern black and white thinking rather than opening up multiple perspectives and possibilities. The study suggests that the work of Helene Cixous be considered a resource to sociologists interested in finding ways past the impasse of modern dichotomous thinKing


Cixousian; Debates; Exploration; Gay; Gender; Genesis; Helene Cixous; Language; Marriage; Sex

Controlled Subject

Social sciences--Research; Women's studies; Languages, Modern

File Format


File Size

3358.72 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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