• Butler’s Excerpt from Gender Trouble

    Posted on March 16th, 2014 msmith88 No comments

    Butler’s excerpt from her article “Gender Trouble” was a pretty difficult read for me. I’m not sure that I fully understood some of the points that Butler made. Through the reading, it was easy to tell that Butler has a formal writing style, mainly because she is addressing an academic audience. With that being said, it left me a little confused with Butler’s argument. However, I had an easier time understanding Butler’s main points through Judith Butler Explained with Cats. For me, it was still a bit wordy and technical, but I feel that it was easier for me to focus in on the key points of “gender performativity,” especially because since it put into a humorous dialogue form.

    Butler explains how gender is a doing and not a being and there is no doer behind the deed. With that, she says that gender is “performative,” meaning no identity exists behind the acts that supposedly express gender. If gender is identified as “the cultural meanings that the sexed body assumes, then a gender cannot be said to follow from a sex in any one way.” Also, she explains that sex is different than gender, in that it acts as a label to identify women and men. Butler makes the argument that gender and sex shouldn’t be associated with one another, and I honestly haven’t made up my mind whether I agree with that or not.

    I found it interesting when Butler mentions that “gender is a result of repeated ‘styles of the flesh’ that ‘congeal over time.’ This process makes us think that there is a natural inner truth—“the construction ‘compels’ our belief in its necessity and naturalness.” This really puts into perspective how society has a major impact on an individual’s behaviors as a male or female. In society, men are expected to act a certain way and women are expected to do so as well. I really liked that Butler uses the word compelled here because it is almost as if society’s construction of gender is considered as norm for most males and females.

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