Blogging the Theoretical

Butler quote for Group One

November 2, 2011 · 3 Comments

If gender is a norm, it is not the same as a model that individuals seek to approximate. On the contrary, it is a form of social power that produces the intelligble field of subjects and an apparatus by which the gender binary is instituted. As a norm that appears independent of the practices that it governs, its ideality is the reinstituted effect of those very practices. This suggests not only that the relation between practices and the idealizations under which they work is contingent, but that the very idealization can be brought into question and crisis, potentially undergoing deidealization and divestiture (Butler 2004, 48).

Categories: Abby · Group One · Jenae · Jennifer M · Monica · Rich



3 responses so far ↓

  •   janico08 // Nov 3rd 2011 at 1:36 pm

    In this quote, Judith Butler asserts that gender is normalized as a male/female binary system that humans holds individuals to a standard cultural definition of what it means to be male or female. Those who do not fit these standard definitions fall outside of intelligible gender and are therefore recognized as abject, deviant or less “human.” Gender is constructed to appear to be essentially linked to one’s biological sex. For example, I didn’t fully understand the difference between sex and gender until I took my fist gender course at St. Lawrence. I thought the two terms meant the same thing and could be used interchangeably. Now I am able to question the construction of these two terms as being essentially linked and therefore, quite limiting. This is what Butler refers to as undoing gender.

  •   ahvang08 // Nov 6th 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Butler is defining gender as a binary system that only gains power through social construct. She is saying that an individual is only accepted within a society if they fall into the male or female categories. And as a society we continuously reinforce and institutionalize the idea of gender norms. Daily social rituals of bodily life continuously give social norms legitimacy.

  •   rcrich09 // Nov 6th 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Building on what was address prior it is important to look at the latter half of the quote. Butler is arguing with “the relation between practices and the idealizations under which they work is contingent, but that the very idealization can be brought into question and crisis, potentially undergoing deidealization and divestiture” that the through interrelating gender as a norm and the power that it exerts societally the hegemonic norm of gender can be critically examined not as an innate essential structure of society and humanity but as the social construction that it is. In essence this can be equated to seeing a god bleed. The god untouched is ideal and irreproachable; however, the blood ties it to reality and the criticism of humans.

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