Gender Trouble: Feminism And The Subversion Of Identity

984 Words4 Pages
Introduction (300) Judith Butler, in her Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), has portrayed gender and sex as social constructs, subjected to change and transmutable. Her feminist theories have added to theoretical trends of the late twentieth century, re-evaluating basic scholarly assumptions about the nature of reality and individuals within it. Thus, all major categories have undergone revision, with the idea of womanhood at its centre. Angela Carter 's Nights at the Circus 1990 [1984]) and Barbara Wilson 's Gaudi Afternoon (1990) are two contemporary novels that react on these trends, and depict gender identities in innovative ways, attempting to capture contemporary and past discourses within the feminist movement. This text is going to address the novels ' own assessment of gender, and their views on womanhood as a single category. Firstly, it will be argued that both novelists incorporate in their writings essentialist principles, articulated in earlier forms of feminism, focused on a critique of patriarchal social ordering. On the other hand, the essay will look at postmodern deconstructive tendencies of feminism, demonstrating how Carter and Wilson move beyond binary systems of opposites, and bypass singular categories, such as womanhood. Lastly, it will be assessed whether the postmodern character of both works confirms post-structuralist fragmentation of an individual, or whether the authors find other ways of conceptualising the
Open Document