Review of Judith Butler’s Undoing Gender
The text, Undoing Gender contains 12 articles written by Judith Butler, a feminist thinker and a professor specializing in Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and Women’s Studies. In the text, Butler does not adopt any specific guiding principles, with the articles she presents covering a wide range of themes including intersex and transgender issues and psychoanalysis. Butler examines the different ways that people can undo the restrictive norms that characterize sexuality and gender. She argues that while norms are necessary, they have to be exceeded for the sake of humanity’s future. The author largely focusses on things that make a gender livable.
Undoing Gender builds upon Butler’s earlier text, Gender Trouble in which she presents her theory of construction of sexuality and gender performativity. However, in her latest text, she moves beyond the binary frame in which gender is taken as a symbol of the basic self. Butler brings out the categories of gender, sex, and desire as being the outcome of certain power structures. Much of the theoretical and conceptual framework in the text takes from Gender Trouble, but the critique of how gender norms come about is situated within an understanding of the complicated relationship between social transformation and survival that is materially based. Unlike in the earlier text in which Butler’s main focus was on gender as a doing, t…
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