Femenist Philosophy - A Review of Gender Trouble by Judith Butler (1989)
Butler does a great job dismantling the heterosexual dominance
in society and giving more power to alternative sexes, genders, and
sexualities. I think feminists and Social Justice Warriors would do well
by reading this book - it criticizes some of the idiocy I see in
mainstream feminism (spouted by people that were born after this book
was published), but also the importance of a type of feminism.
This was a tough read for sure. I have some thinking to do on
the topic. I had always thought that 'sex' came from biology and
'gender' came from society. There's a strong correlation between Male
and Masculine - Female and Feminine; but not an absolute connection by
any means. Butler, I think, questions the foundation of 'sex' coming
from biology - which is fair enough since humans are, ultimately, the
ones that are slicing reality in that way - there are examples of humans
that don't adequately fit into that type of Aristotelian
categorization. One of the section in this book, which is for the most
part an extended literature review and critique, has Butler dissecting
Foucault's essay about such a person.
I want to point out that
Butler is very analytical. To the extreme of dissecting Foucault's
answer to an interview question about homosexuality. The response that
Butler spends two pages discussing? "[Laughter]". Yes, she dissects the
meaning and implication of [laughter] using examples from Avicenna and
other various historical and contemporary sources. - so I can't be
blamed if I didn't find the book entirely convincing.
Each section of this book starts with a quote from an influential scholar. I think a lot can be discovered from the quotes alone.
One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one.
Simone de Beauvoir
Strictly speaking, “women” cannot be said to exist.
Woman does not have a sex.
The deployment of sexuality ... established this notion of sex.
The category of sex is the political category that founds society as heterosexual.
This really is essential reading for feminist philosophy. Check out this humorous explanation of Butler's gender theory.