Book review: Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

Judith Butler (Source)

The deconstruction of identity is not the deconstruction of politics: rather, it establishes as political the very terms through which identity is articulated. (148)

Oh Judith Butler, how you exhaust my eyeballs… It’s a good thing I took Representation and Gender in the Americas last semester, because Butler and her theory about gender performativity came up A LOT in our assigned readings (though her theory was being applied to Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin American culture, often via artistic evidence such as pictorial codices). Therefore, actually reading Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity was not as mentally rigorous as it could have been, but there is no denying that Butler is a bit painful to get through. Her rhetoric is so overdone and unnecessarily complex, and though her ideas are fascinating, it bordered on being physically strenuous to get through her book. That really is one of the most frustrating things about scholarly writing; it’s like some writers try to write above everyone’s heads just to prove how awesome their brain matter is. But whatever, her cerebrum is neither her nor there, because there is no denying that Gender Trouble is one of the most important works ever written for feminism and queer theory.  Continue reading

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