Judith Butler Masculinity

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CHAPTER 2 GENDER PERFORMATIVITY: JUDITH BUTLER Judith Butler is an eminent and prolific writer, who has assumed an exceptionally powerful part in moulding present day feminism. She is Professor of Comparative Literature and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and is well known as a theorist of power, gender, sexuality and identity. She's composed broadly on sex and her idea of gender performativity is a focal topic of both present day women's rights and gender hypothesis. She has composed numerous books and papers on gender and society which include Performative Acts and Gender Constitution (1988), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (1993)…show more content…
In earlier times, feminism was more about representation of women in the political sphere and their voting rights. But Butler argues and says that it won’t be correct to describe women as one unified homogeneous group as each woman is different in interests, problems, desires and personality. According to her women cannot be a homogeneous group since they come from a wide variety of backgrounds sharing differences in class, ethnicity and race. The point holds much validity when we try to compare and equate the needs and problems faced by a poverty stricken mother from an African village to a wealthy businesswoman from the New York City. She would rather be able to identify with and relate more to a man from similar conditions than the supposed ‘sister’ from the polished society. One of the most prominent feminists, Simone de Beauvoir, faced similar problems in defining a woman. In her book, The Second Sex, she begins by asking the question “What is a woman?” (Beauvoir, 1949, p.13). She doesn’t agree with age old explanation of woman is a womb and thus realises that women have always been defined as the ‘other’…show more content…
"There are female infants and children who cannot be impregnated, there are older women who cannot be impregnated.... What the question does is try to make the problematic of reproduction central to the sexing of the body. But I am not sure that is, or ought to be, what is absolutely salient or primary in the sexing of the body." (Butler, quoted in Osborne & Segal, 1994) Thus her contention that women cannot be a unified homogeneous group is justified, as they share so much of diversity: "The very subject of women is no longer understood in stable or abiding terms." Thus, we have to look for a new way to identify and define gender: "The consequence of such sharp disagreements about the meaning of gender.... establishes the need for a radical re-thinking of the categories of identity within the context of relations of radical gender

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