Mandy's Reviews > Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
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's review
Feb 16, 2012

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Read from February 16 to 24, 2012

Perhaps somewhat out-dated (in that Butler's ideas have seeped deeply into the foundation of what is now, but wasn't yet then, queer studies), but seminal nonetheless. The big takeaway: gender constructs sex, and gender itself is constructed through repeated performances of "gender identity." The most compelling section, I think, is the one on drag, in which Butler identifies drag shows as performances in which the performed aspects of what is considered biological sex, gender identity, and gender performance are all highlighted as performances, as imitations of imitations with no real copy.

Despite being such a super influential text, Butler's style is painfully dense, full of paragraphs of (semi-)rhetorical questions and difficult-to-identify arguments.

The ideas deserve 4.5 stars, but the writing style (and subsequently the reading experience) earns a 1.5 at best, thus 3 stars (and math!).
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