The Sex and Gender with Social Theory (I will may change the title)

by Ernie Jeffress, June 2014

1500 words

5 pages


The Sex and Gender with Social TheoryToday, the subject of feminism is considered both in the framework of traditional feminist theories and on the basis of the so-called gender-based approach, which suggests that all gender differences are socially constructed. It is quite natural that this approach has fundamentally changed the problem’s understanding and significantly contributed to the emergence of fundamentally new concepts of human subjectivity and ways of its presentation and definition (Ramazanoglu 2003: 21).Judith Butler is post-structuralist philosopher, who has subjected the classical feministic theory to criticism. In fact, she suggests a fresh look at sex and gender, which has become a political basis for the feminist movement. In her book “'Gender Trouble”, Butler problematizes the possibility of homogeneous groups based on gender, criticizing, for example, feminism for the fact that it attributes all women to one group with the same desires and aspirations. Also, the philosopher’s critique is directed at the theoretical possibility of existence of some gender identity for both men and women (i.e. the relevance of the category of a “woman” in feminism) (Kaufman-Osborn 1997: 653).According to Butler, when delimitating such theoretical constructs as “sex” and “gender”, it is impossible to talk about gender’s social and cultural constructiveness regardless of the fact that “sex” is a constructed category. In order to prove this statement, the philosopher puts the following questions: “Does sex have a history? Does each sex have a different history or histories? Is there a history of how the duality of sex was established, a genealogy that might expose the binary options as a variable construction”? (Appelrouth & Edles 2010: 379). Asking these questions, Butler argues that that there is no sense to define gender as the cultural interpretation of sex, because sex itself is a gendered category. Gender in terms of culture is not the same as sex in relation to nature. According to the philosopher: “Gender is a discursive/cultural means by which “sexed nature” or “a natural sex” is produced and established as “prediscursive”, prior to culture, a politically neutral surface on which culture acts”(Appelrouth & Edles 2010: 379).Butler contrasts her vision of sex and gender with the concepts’ dominant conceptualization within a binary opposition: male-female or masculine-feminine. The philosopher proposes to see how we actually behave in different circumstances rather than describe who we actually are. That is, Butler describes her vision of sex and gender in terms of fluctuation and variability that may be conditioned by context. According to the scholar, gender is based on the concept of “performativity”, that is, a category subordinates man’s actions, but not man develops a category to describe his/her behavior. In fact, Butler’s approach is based on the deconstruction of “sex” and “gender” categories in order to identify new ways to achieve equality, in which people are not restricted by male and female roles (Ramazanoglu 2003: 43).Butler rejects the idea that gender roles are imposed by ideology or culture and offers a version of gender as performative act, which is not “passively inscribed in …

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