Posts Tagged ‘feminist’

First, a bit of unofficial news: I have been told that I have passed my exams, or at least that I should and should proceed as if I have. The other reader is out of town, so nothing is official, but I have gotten some assurance, which takes off a whole lot of pressure.

And then adds some. I need to get started on this prospectus thing. Which means more research. Which is good; I’m good at research.

This leads me to the article for today: “Building Boxes and Policing Boundaries: (De)Constructing Intersexuality, Transgender and Bisexuality” by Betsy Lucal.

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I’ve discovered recently that the used book store is one of my primary places to find sources for my dissertation. I keep finding incredibly good books there. I’m guessing students who take classes on feminist theory or queer theory sell their books there, and then I can scoop them up. Works well for me. I’d like to talk today about parts of one of those sources. The book is called Genderqueer: voices from beyond the sexual binary, and it’s edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell, and Riki Wilchins. They open the book by each giving their own introduction, and Wilchins’ is where I’d like to start.

There will probably be more on this book at a later date, but for now, I’m just looking at Riki Wilchins’ contributions. (more…)

As promised, I have more research to share. Today I will be discussing Judith Butler’s article “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” For those who don’t know, Butler is one of the most important voices in feminist theory, and one of the most cited authors in the humanities (almost more than Marx and Nietzsche put together).

One of the things I like best about this article is how it talks about gender as a performance, as something in flux. Butler tells us early on that “gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceede [sic]; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time – an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts. Further, gender is instituted through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and enactments of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self” (519, emphasis in original). She is saying that the way we act informs our gender identity. That is, we have to act a certain way in order to have a gender. Theoretically, if we acted a different way, if we did not repeat the acts , the gestures, movements, and other enactments, we would lose or change that gender identity. (more…)