This article develops a critical realist, strategic relational analysis of the gendering of the state. It draws freely from feminist theorists, recent work on masculinity, and some of the insights of â��queer theoryâ��. My aim is to show the contingently necessary nature of the gender biases in the stateâ��s institutional architecture and operation and show how these can be illuminated through a critical realist, strategic-relational perspective. The article has four main parts. These deal with (a) critical realism and the strategic-relational approach (hereafter SRA); (b) its implications for analyzing gender selectivities; (c) the gender selectivities of advanced capitalist democratic states; and (d) some implications of strategic selectivity for feminist action.