Judith Butler positions herself as an advocate and political actor in Frames of War which is a role that deviates some from her previous works that centered heavily on constructs of gender and sexual orientation. Her voice of advocacy speaks out against war and torture and violence itself.
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI was a German elected to the papacy after the death of the widely popular and now sainted Pope John Paul II (1920–2005). Benedict maintained a conservative position on many Catholic issues which included those related to women, gender, and the family as Butler describes in Frames of War. Some Catholics and non-Catholics alike criticized Benedict's conservative stance and believed it was leading even more faithful away from a Church already hurting in the wake of rampant allegations of sexual abuse by priests. Benedict resigned from the papacy in 2013 and became the first pope to do so in almost 600 years.
Marc Falkoff edited the best-selling poetry collection Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak (2007) which brought together 22 poems from 17 prisoners detained at the American prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Butler examines his edited collection in Frames of War and sees the poems as a way that the voices of those deemed "ungrievable" or not alive by American society are brought into the forefront.
Susan Sontag was an award-winning author whose work appears in 32 languages. She was a human rights crusader particularly involved in advocacy for writers who were persecuted for their honest coverage of events. Butler examines Sontag's work On Photography (1977) which highlights the nuances of photographs and how they convey meaning. Butler uses certain points made by Sontag to further her own arguments about the way photography is used to frame acts of war.