The chapters in this book illustrate a range of cutting edge research in language and gender studies, with contributions from a number of internationally recognised experts. The three themes, femininity, feminism and gendered discourse are central to research in language and gender, and the book thus makes a valuable contribution to a number of current debates. Femininity comprises a central aspect of gender performance and the process of 'gendering' individuals is ongoing and unavoidable. For many people, the word 'femininity' has associations with 'frilly pink party dresses', with demureness, deference, and lack of power and influence. The first section of this book demonstrates some alternative conceptions of femininity, and a range of ways in which femininity is performed in different contexts and cultures. The analyses illustrate that we are all continually performing aspects of femininity (and masculinity) in flexible, dynamic, ambiguous, predictable and unpredictable ways. Language and gender research has a long tradition of engagement with the political, and specifically with feminism and feminist goals. The chapters in the second section of this book demonstrate the value of identifying gendered patterns in order to challenge their potentially repressive effects in social interaction in a range of spheres. The researchers analyse contemporary international evidence of sexism in language use, including material from Japanese spam emails expressing sexual desire, and from media reporting on male and female candidates in the 2007 French elections. The final section of this book focuses on the different ways in which we negotiate our gender through discourse. Gender is just one of many facets of our intrinsically hybridized social identities. Nevertheless, it is a very significant facet, a salient dimension in everyday life, with a pervasive social influence on everything we do and say. Interaction is typically viewed through 'gendered' spectacles much of the time. The chapters in the third section focus in detail on diverse ways in which gender is constructed through discourse, examining the interaction between individual agency and the larger constraining social structures, including socio-cultural norms, within which that agency is enacted. Finally, the different contributions in this book represent research from a multiplicity of geographic and cultural backgrounds, supporting efforts to internationalise language and gender research, and to raise awareness of empirical studies undertaken in a wide range of linguistic and cultural contexts.