Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trouble in Mind

When I'm not being made to read about the myriad horrors of New Coke, I'm still getting through Gender Trouble. GT doesn't mention asexuality, although I keep coming across passages where a mention of it would be absolutely perfect. Butler might not be familiar with our little orientation, but it's the ultimate nyah-nyah-nyah to the "compulsory heterosexuality" she obviously despises. If your aim is to "make gender trouble", as Butler says hers is, then get asexuals. Seriously. No matter how traditionally gendered we appear to be, we're still kicking it where it hurts. There's always the next edition, Ms. J.B.!
I'm pretty sure GT is about feminism, although I'm also sure it contains themes I can't perceive, like hidden messages on a record playing backwards. But what I know Butler discusses is who has the right to participate in feminism, and what the feminist movement should look like. I know that for my lovers of alphabet soup, this is starting to sound familiar. Here's a quote for you: [translated into regular English, with respect]

Is "unity" necessary for effective political action? Is the premature insistence on the goal of unity precisely the cause of...fragmentation among the ranks?...Does "unity" set up an exclusionary norm of solidarity at the level of identity that rules out...actions which disrupt the very borders of identity concepts, or which seek to accomplish precisely that disruption as an explicit political aim?...[My] approach to coalitional politics assumes...the shape or meaning of a coalitional assemblage [cannot] be known prior to its achievement.
-Page 21

So, if you still think your local LGBT group could stand to mix in a few more letters (if they're not, like some groups, just becoming "Pride!" or "Queers!" and eschewing letters altogether, to my delight), tell them Judith Butler sent you. And that could be just frightening enough to make them take notice.


Mary said...
Possible book review?

Also, reading Judith Butler makes me feel dazed and somewhat stupid.

Ily said...

Ooh, thanks for the link! I figure, not being in academia and all, I have to keep my neurons firing somehow. :-)