Today our group discussed Judith Butler’s piece Gender & Sexuality. It was sort of an extended version of our class discussion on Thursday. We started off speaking about how we felt about the articles. Tina said she felt it was bold and sort of out there, it was difficult to grasp because we’re not fully able to see it from her perspective. Nevertheless, it was still an interesting read because of that same reason; it was a new perspective. We spoke about our own thoughts concerning identity and Carina shared that she believed a man for example, was capable of being both feminine and masculine. Every culture has their own traditions and in some traditions the men do/wear things that by American standards are viewed as feminine but that does not make them any less masculine. An example would be Scottish or Irish men when they wear kilts. A kilt is basically a skirt. If I were to describe it to anyone I would say it’s a skirt but a skirt that a man wears. I don’t consider them any less “manly” for wearing it, in fact I know very few people that do. Yet I sort of became a hypocrite (which is what I think Butler wanted us to do) because I just said, “a skirt, but a skirt that a man wears.” Skirts do not have a gender but we associate them with women. The idea that a man can wear it makes them feminine and we’d probably categorize him as gay for doing so.
Our discussion was pretty confusing because situations like that kept happening. We’d contradict our thoughts but we couldn’t help it. I couldn’t shake off the fact that skirts are for girls. I fully support men who wear “girls clothing” and it doesn’t affect me one bit but I become one of the people Butler talks about because I label it girls clothing. I think she really helped us realize and truly see the effect that society has on our thoughts. I’ve been taught to think this way since I was younger and up until now I thought it was right. Now I begin to question these “myths” created by the society I live in. We decided that society decides who you are. It does not matter who YOU think you are because society will do the thinking for you. Just like it did for Butler and just like it did for Linda when we read about her story. We’re so obsessed with labeling everything just to soothe our minds because our minds go crazy, they go insane when we see something unfamiliar. We need to know more about it and see which category it fits into best. Your identity changes when people perceive you differently. Differently than them.
Written by: Jenessy