Butler Reading Response

The reading was difficult for me to understand. I’m still a little bit confused but I am going to try to explain what Butler argument was about. Butler makes the argument that there is no clear division between sex and gender. She analyzes the power of representation in her opinion not all women are the same this includes men. Butler examines sexuality as socially constructed. That comes from the social and cultural practices. As discussed in class label / categories she doesn’t favor. She has a problem with the way feminism is structured. She discusses gender performativity. As mentioned in class gender is not fixed it is something that we do. Butler observes, “gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself…what they imitate is a phantasmic ideal of heterosexual identity…gay identities work neither to copy nor emulate heterosexuality, but rather, to expose heterosexuality as an incessant and panicked imitation of its own naturalized idealization. That heterosexuality is always in the act of elaborating itself is evidence that it is perpetually at risk, that it, that it ‘knows’ it’s own possibility of becoming undone”


2 thoughts on “Butler Reading Response

  1. Yes, Butler focuses on gender performativity. Gender is something we act out rather than something predetermined by nature. She gave the example of drag as performing gender. Drag is all about becoming the other gender through attire, makeup, and/or actions. Often, drag is very exaggerated and displays the extreme ends of the gender. Butler stated that through the imitation of gender, “drag implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself-as well as its contingency”. There isn’t an original, but rather everything about gender is imitated and then become a natural part of society. Drag definitely forces people to re-look at the genders. I watched an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race in a class. One of the contestants dressed up like Victoria’s Secret model. Walking out of the runway, one would never have questioned his gender. He looked exactly like what one would imagine a Victoria’s Secret model would look like. This particular episode has guests who were athletes. It was pretty obvious that the athletes were uncomfortable with their new looks. They felt out of place compared to the regular contestants of the show.

  2. Nice example, Allison. Tammy, I think you might help yourself by trying to paraphrase Butler and quoting a little less. That will give you practice putting her in your own words for the exam. You pick a good quote though so see if you can work out the ideas in your own words.

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