Writing, reading, watching, listening.

Writing, reading, watching, listening.
Life In : Recommendations, my own creations, and a place for a conversation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity By Judith Butler


Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble has been one of the most cited and influential texts in gender studies since its publication in 1990. Butler introduces problems resulting from the identification of gender with the biological difference between men and women, analyses the power relations in the basis of the concept of gender, describes methods of controls and suggests that deconstruction can lead to change.
According to the scholar, gender-based classification is constructed by discourse with the objective of recreating hegemonic paradigms and perpetuating current power relations. Former feminists have noted the importance of exposing the interests behind conventions. Butler goes further: defining Women and Men as universal categories disguises the interest it serves.
She writes, “Signification is not a founding act, but rather a regulated process of repetition that both  conceals  itself  and  enforces  its  rules  precisely  through  the  production  of substantializing effects” (185). She states that analysis (or deconstruction) provides tools for the socially oppressed to fight against the existing social order.
 In the author’s view, the category of Women from which the feminist struggle arises is different from the political, hierarchical myth based on biology. The assumption that there is a pre-discursive body with a pre-determined sexuality and gender sustains oppression against subjugated and marginalized subjects. Disconnected from the body, she suggests, gender can include more than two versions.

            In the first chapter, titled “Subjects of Sex, Gender, Desire”, Butler introduces woman as a subject of feminism and distinguishes between sex and gender. In the second she discusses heterosexuality within psychoanalytical and structuralist theories. Lastly, “Subversive bodily acts” deals with the category of biological sex and ends with Butler’s theory of gender-related performance and performativity.

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