November 19, 2012

Understanding Gender

I think the main question that Butler is addressing in Gender Trouble is whether gender is a preconstructed norm established by exclusion on a cultural level that people just assimilate to, or is it an identity which we choose to relate to at a certain point?  She is also saying if it is the preconstructed norm, why is it necessary to understand gender through exclusion?  If feminism is a product of the cultural exclusion of women, but itself is understood through the cultural exclusion of men, isn’t it’s result or understanding contradictory? “Is there some commonality among ‘women’ that preexists their oppression, or do ‘women’ have a bond by virtue of their oppression alone?  Is there a specificity to women’s cultures that is independent of their subordination by hegemonic, masculinist cultures? (5) I do believe that gender groups result from pre-established cultural norms, and that based on your sex you are expected to assimilate to these standards.  However, I do believe that this is a result of human construction and a human desire for understanding and simplifying.  I think it is possible for a sex to relate more with whatever gender they identify with better, based on genetics and how they were raised.  I think at some point one is expected to conform to these constructed gender identities, and if they don’t they are given an “other” status.

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