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WeGender Trouble


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WeGender Trouble

  1. 1. Butler, J (1999) Gender Trouble Louise Spencer-Young Katie King-Lewis
  2. 2. “Women” as the subject of feminism  Feminist theory has assumed that there is an existing identity of women which represents feminist interests and goals.  Representation is a controversial term:  it can work within a political process to “extend visibility, legitimacy to women as political subjects.”  Function of language to either reveal or distort women.  There is now controversy around what constitutes the category of women.
  3. 3.  So if women are the subject of feminism; the construction of feminism in politics was formed by the patriarchal society to which they are supposed to be opposing.  The subject of feminism is crucial for politics and feminist politics.  It becomes impossible to separate out gender from the political and cultural intersections in which it is produced and maintained.
  4. 4. The compulsory order of sex, gender and desire  “Originally the distinction between sex and gender serves the argument that whatever biological intractability sex appears to have; gender is culturally constructed”  When gender is radically separated from sex gender becomes a “free-floating artifice” with the consequence that “man and masculine might just as easily signify a female body as a male one” This poses more problems
  5. 5. Gender: the circular ruins of contemporary debate.  “When the relevant culture that constructs gender is understood in terms of such a law or sets of laws then it seams that gender is as determined and fixed as it was under the biology-is-destiny formulation”.  For Beauvoir, gender is constructed but can arguably take on other genders “the one who becomes a woman is not necessarily female” (transgender)  For Beauvoir women are the negative of men, for Irigaray women are represented falsely as the subject and the other.
  6. 6. Identity, sex and the metaphysics of substance.  Identity is assured through the stabilizing concepts of sex, gender and sexuality.  There are very different ways in which the category of sex is understood depending on how the field of power is articulated  “The category of sex would its self disappear and dissipate through the disruption and displacement of heterosexual hegemony”.
  7. 7.  The lesbian emerges as a third gender that promises to transcend the binary restriction on sex imposed by the system of compulsory heterosexuality.  Gender can denote a unity of experience of sex gender and desire.