Course Hero. "Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Apr. 2019. Web. 24 May 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gender-Trouble-Feminism-and-the-Subversion-of-Identity/>.
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(Course Hero, 2019)
Course Hero. "Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity Study Guide." April 26, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gender-Trouble-Feminism-and-the-Subversion-of-Identity/.
Course Hero, "Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity Study Guide," April 26, 2019, accessed May 24, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gender-Trouble-Feminism-and-the-Subversion-of-Identity/.
Nonfiction, Philosophy, Women's Studies
Butler wrote Gender Trouble to address two issues that threatened feminism's ability to take political action on behalf of women. It had become unclear what criteria defined the category of "women," the subject of feminism's struggle for opportunity and representation. There was also disagreement among feminist thinkers about what constituted the very idea of a "subject," a being with identity for whom representation and opportunity could be sought. Butler argued that "subjects" are not natural but come into being through political forces that then seek to regulate them. Additionally, she asserted the equivalence and artificiality of the identity categories of gender and sex. Butler explained that identity, including gender, is performative rather than fixed or natural. It comes into existence only when the performance of certain behaviors is repeated. It is therefore malleable—open to alteration and subversion. These arguments were revolutionary in 1990 when the book was published and are still shocking to many today. Gender Trouble's impact reached far beyond academia and is considered a foundational text of queer theory. Because of its groundbreaking approach to understanding the very nature of identity, Gender Trouble has remained relevant ever since its publication.
Butler argues that gender is constructed through the repetitive performance of certain behaviors. The political framework that mandates heterosexuality and the gender binary regulates these "gendered" behaviors. Butler's critical inquiry is a call for feminism to "make gender trouble" by exposing gender and sex as artificial categories.
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