Judith Butler and Bell Hooks


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Judith Butler and Bell Hooks

  1. 1. Collective Identity: Gender TheoryJudith Butler: “gender performance”Bell Hooks: “cultural criticism”
  2. 2. STARTER TASK: Build a stereotype spider diagram- what are the firstthings you think of when you hear the words “black man”? e.g.“gangsta”, baggy jeans, white vest, snapback...Where does this stereotype come from? Find two examples of thisstereotype being reinforced through filtered media representations. Judith Butler “Gender Trouble”Butler states that gender, sex and sexuality are defined by sets of rulesdecided by society and performed accordingly.The very fact that people can say that they feel more or less like awoman or like a man shows that ‘a gendered... cultural identity isconsidered an achievement.
  3. 3. Butler highlights the consistent linking of body type (male/female) withsocially constructed acts, for example it is “natural” that if you have amale body, you are attracted to females, like sports, drink beer...The crux of Butlers argument in Gender Trouble is that the coherence ofthe categories of sex, gender, and sexuality is culturally constructedthrough the repetition of stylised acts in time. These stylised bodily acts,in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential "core"gender.This is the sense in which Butler theorises gender, along with sex andsexuality, as performative. The performance of gender, sex, andsexuality, however, is not a voluntary choice for Butler, who states thatthe construction of the gendered subject has its’ foundation withinsocietal norms and ideologies. These decide in advance whatpossibilities of sex, gender, and sexuality are socially permitted toappear as coherent or "natural”.Gender is performed repeatedly and over a sustained period of time.This repetition is not performed by a subject, it is performed by cultures,politics, beliefs and values; this repetition is what enables a subject toperform their chosen gender. ‘Performance is not a singular act orevent, but a ritualized production, a ritual reiterated under and throughconstraint, under and through the force of prohibition and taboo, withthe threat of ostracism and even death controlling and compelling the
  4. 4. shape of the production, but not, I will insist, determining it fully inadvance”.Ideologies contain within them disciplinary techniques which, bycoercing subjects to perform specific stylized actions, maintain theappearance in those subjects of the "core" gender, sex and sexualitythe ideology itself produces.GLOSSARY“genderperformance”“stylised acts”“sociallyconstructed acts”“cultural identity”“coherence”“sociallypermitted”“performative”“ritualize”“reiterate”“prohibit”“taboo”
  5. 5. “coerce”“ostracise”Bell Hooks, “Cultural Criticism”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= Xtoanes_L_gNOTES:
  6. 6. Notes:It is important to understand that rappers that portray these lifestyle choicesare doing so because they are aware it makes money. It is an insincereperformance, made to be packaged and sold to the consumer. (HEGEMONY)Rappers are expected to glamorise a violent, deprived, uneducatedchildhood and behave as if this background is the reason for their success.The more this is reinforced, the more young black men from similarbackgrounds start to accept this representation as a true reflection of theirideal self. (LACAN)It is also important to understand that the target audience (the person thatwill spend money on this representation, usually middle class and wealthy) isnot the same as the young black male audience who see theserepresentations and believe them to be a genuine reflection of their idealself. (LACAN)When looking for audience members imitating these representations youneed to find examples of young black males from deprived backgrounds thatsee rappers that have come from similar circumstances to them and turnthem into role models because they are now rich and successful.Gender is tied into these performances at the most basic level. In roughneighbourhoods black men have to behave a certain way in order to gainrespect and be seen “as a man”. They are expected to speak, dress, walk andstand in a way that defines them as “heterosexual male”, and particularly asrap music has become part of pop culture and become more misogynistic FIND AND ANALYSE TWO EXAMPLES OF RAPPERS CONFORMING TOBLACK GENDER STEREOTYPES, THEN RESEARCH EXAMPLES OF AUDIENCEMEMBERS (DEPRIVED YOUNG BLACK MEN) IMITATING THIS BEHAVIOUR.