“Gender is the mechanism through which notions of masculinity and femininity arise and are naturalized, but it can also be a means of fragmenting and denaturalizing these terms”. Reflections of Judith Butler, one of the most controversial and misunderstood figures in today’s philosophical context, focuses on key issues of gender, identity, sexuality and language. it’s 1990 when this reflection flows sexual dysfunction, the text where Butler discusses the categories of man and woman in academic terms for the first time. This work, which has become a cult of feminist and gender theory, earns it a place of honor star system Post-structuralist philosophy. Her queer and anti-identity theory becomes apparent after the work, while she defines herself as lesbian and feminist – but she cautions that none of the qualifications truly identify her. Rather, says Butler, his body moves freely and rotates between different identities.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to a Russian-Hungarian Jewish family, Judith Butler developed a strong political career from an early age, a victim of genocide on her maternal side. After his doctorate at Yale, he completed his critical theory studies in Germany thanks to a research grant. Butler’s intellectual journey is the result of an intellectual curiosity that ranges from Hannah Arendt’s political theory to Michel Foucault’s, from John Austin’s legal positivism to German hermeneutics. The liberality of Butler’s sources and references would, in the opinion of his detractors, indicate a confused look and a vague idea, rather than the intellectual richness with which some of his equals are concerned.
A story she tells herself in the documentary Judith Butler: Philosophical Encounters of the Third Kind (2019) clarifies his business of unlimited understanding and knowledge. Since he often skipped classes, when he was fourteen his parents arranged a school for him to take private lessons from a rabbi. When the latter asked her what topics she intended to explore, Butler replied “Why was Spinoza excommunicated from the Amsterdam synagogue, if German idealistic philosophy had contributed somewhat to the rise of fascism and existential theology?” Contributed”. Therefore, as a teenager Butler already had a series of questions in mind that would accompany him throughout his research.
Principle is never an end in itself, in Judith Butler. As a leading exponent of the protection of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, his philosophical outlook is backed by an essential social commitment. It is possible to counter existing norms and paradigms to reformulate new norms only through means of activism. Furthermore, only in this way is it possible to give visibility to the “invisible” subjects of color, gender minorities represented in the LGBTQ+ pride flag. In each of his writings or works, Butler confronts us with the need to break with the tradition that makes the autonomous and free individual of the neoliberal lineage the center of political reflection: every subjectivity must be recognized in fundamental rights.
Although Butler’s lessons are not accessible to everyone because of the complexity of the style and vocabulary used, his speech introduced a fundamentally new concept. gender, To the question “How to define your own identity?” Butler’s answer is that it is necessary to find a “place of oneself” beyond the rigid categorizations of biology and linguistics. Then there are not just two genders, but as many possibilities as each of us gives ourselves. As author Sylvian Agassinsky has explained, for Butler everything “becomes an effect of the word, including the body itself, such that the word can encompass life and, to a certain extent, anticipate it”. . And so gender is not a physical fact, but a product of language.
Finally, among Butler’s varied and often disparate areas of research, it is possible to trace some common threads that restore the complexity of his research itinerary. One of them is corporatization. Butler refers specifically to the body when it is in sexual dysfunction refers to the performativeness of gender, the idea that gender exists only to the extent that it is replicated through ritual actions and gestures. A classic of the gender question since the 1990s, Butler’s Reflections offers its readers a way to critically understand femininity and masculinity as categories to be contested rather than protected.
Agnes and Inez Albright on the cover of Gender Trouble, 1990
Judith Butler, 2012
Courtesy of Encyclopædia Britannica
Judith Butler, 2020
Courtesy of Encyclopædia Britannica
Civil rights rally at the Democratic National Convention, New York, 1976