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Monday, May 02, 2011

Gender Ambiguity and Judith Butler : Gender Trouble; Bodies That Matter; Undoing Gender; Giving An Account of Oneself

Breaking Dawn Photo Shoot=Summit

Judith Butler

Judith Butler Illustration
Undoing Gender
Bodies That Matter
I am at a loss as to why Scummit would release the above photo of Edward and Bella from the Breaking Dawn shoot. At robsessed there has been a lot of discussion about gender ambiguity, especially as it concerns Rob and the way young men perceive him, talk about him, shun his films, etc. I don't think he has ever been photographed any more femme than in this one, so why would they do it? Do they not see? And the oooohs of the young fans (young?) over this one in the comments following it  are very enthusiastic and drooley.   Are they releasing it to appeal to gay men and gay women? Conscious or unconscious? 

As simply as possible Butler is analyzing gender as socially constructed and she is speaking about the body, the mind, gestures, thinking, and all performative signs indicating gender. Now these signs are becoming mixed, they are acting as masks, or they are simply empty signs. 
Gender Trouble

Let's look at male six-packs. Rob has said he thinks all that is silly but he is willing to work out for a role. A six-pack is a butch, macho, male sign. Without it you are considered femme, unmanly. It is also considered as an inverse sign, a mask of masculinity, masking an underlying femininity. Are you with me so far?

Women have now given up the cast down eyes, the submissive gestures, but they have also botoxed their faces, plumped their lips, and had silicone injected in their breasts to enlarge them and produce cleavage. Not seductive cleavage, but produced cleavage to signal a sex sign of femme. 
Gender is no longer sexed. Anything goes. Justin Timberlake in Social Network as Sean Parker played Parker as emitting transsexual signs. The way Rob stubbed out his cigarette in Remember Me was drag. Men and women are playing at this. Kristen signals masculine signs in aggressive gestures sometimes. Her approach to her career has been active, while Rob's has been passive. 

David Bowie Ground Control to Major Tom youtube
These are all the things Judith Butler is writing, speaking, lecturing and teaching. She will be at Columbia in the spring semester of 2012 and 2013 in comparative literature.  She is a visiting professor and is actively being wooed to leave Berkeley to come to New York. Anyone who is in the area, I suggest you find a way to attend her lectures. Usually someone of this prominence often has open lectures that can be attended by people not studying for credit.