Author Topic: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?  (Read 540 times)

Paustarcus

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Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« on: Jan 26, 2018, 11:22:31 AM »
I read almost all Gender Trouble of Judith Butler recently and I wanted to have opinions concerning her use of the term queer.

For her, using this word allows people to evolve in a life where changes are allowed, without having to describe oneselfe as straight, gay, lesbian or bi which can tend to establish an identity, a gender or a sexuality which are immuable.

Butler hopes that the use of queer will allow to individuals to have a less frozen idea of themselves and will give access to an affluent vocabulary to speak about gender and sexuality.

What do you think about the idea of being fluid in the definition of oneself? It seems to me interesting trying not to always put words and categories on things and people. For me it is what can close doors to an open-minded world. But in the same time I think it is really important that everyone can recognize her.himself in an identity.

It is just a little intrusion in the work of Judith Butler which I find really interesting. And well there is a loooooot more to discuss but maybe it is just a start.

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 26, 2018, 01:26:55 PM »
A quick phone reply: first, congratulations for reading such a huge amount of Butler. I gave up because I can't understand the grammar of Post-modern English. What little I've gleaned from Judith Butler's works sounds marvellous, in theory, but useless in practice.

Recently I read an announcement for the publication of a book called something like "Nearly Straight" or sort of straight or slightly queer, or something, which is an academic study about read-as-straight men who once had a minor sexual experience with another man, and as a consequence, don't ID as heterosexual.

If these men want to call themselves queer, which I suppose is likely, that more or less neuters it as a word for me. Doing that used to be called appropriation, now it's a virtue signalling fashion.

Offline Lust for Life

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 26, 2018, 02:56:16 PM »
^ reading about this for the first time, I think, tentatively, that it is a good thing if these men admit to a) having tested the waters and b) being changed by it, in however seemingly small a way.

I see this as a huge step forward, compared with the traditional male need to prove their heterosexuality as part of their masculinity, including suppressing any desire for men and/or lying about it.

I think it's bigger than it seems, and could lead to the development of a much more tolerant society.

Ever the optimist, me....

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 26, 2018, 06:01:08 PM »
I would like to think so too, and I hope you're right but my experience of young white men in London, who describe themselves as queer is that there is no discernible difference between how they behave and any of the others who identify as heterosexual. I'm thinking of a documentary film showing about mtf trans women, during the questions afterwards, who do you think spoke most? Not a single trans woman in the audience said a word and on the three occasions I put my hand up, somehow nobody noticed. It was all a load of woolly hat wearing blokes who got to say anything, prefaced with something about their queer ID, as if that gave them a free pass. It looks to me like an updated version of pink shirts and rings on forefingers. Ultimately, men again, crowding out everyone in their eagerness to crow about their enlightenment. I'm pleased if they've thrown off the shakels of a heterosexual straight jacket but why does it have to be at some cost to the real queers, who can't now use the word without adding an explanation?

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 26, 2018, 06:50:56 PM »
I'm batch cooking and posting between stages.

Thinking about the men who are not quite straight because of some slight gay experience, what's the female equivalent? Would it be women who went to all girls schools where they practiced kissing? Unfortunately, they don't seem all to have turned out lesbian, in fact they seem almost exclusively to ID as heterosexual, without even a nod to having once kissed girls. I only know about this from ex gfs, not because any apparently straight woman has told me, appropos their queer ID.

Offline Betty Croker's frosted buns

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 27, 2018, 04:11:42 PM »
I haven't got long this pm but will come back to it because its an interesting topic, Paustarcus.

I may be being unkind in retrospect but I thought she had a tendency to over-complicate things and obfuscate. It may have been just a caution in expression rather than a deliberate attempt to appear more high brow - but I think there were a lot of over dressed, uncompelling ideas beneath all the wrapping and it was the window dressing that gave her more street cred than her position deserved.

Aside from the gender stuff around queer which is admittedly huge, to a large extent she was also simply rebranding bisexuality which up until then had a mixed press in terms of coolness.

There's nothing wrong with an individual forming a less frozen idea of themselves. Its only a problem when fluidity in sexuality and gender becomes prescribed for all of us, irrespective of how fluid we actually are and acceptance of diversity goes out of the window.  And the description of people who are fluid as "evolving beings" suggests people who have a less flaky sense of who they are, may be tantamount to being knuckledraggers sat in a swamp, perhaps. I'm no less evolved as a human being because I've never been interested in cock or speculated endlessly about whether I should be calling myself Alan. Fluidity is just different not better.
« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2018, 04:13:55 PM by Betty Croker's frosted buns »
And now I know how Joan of Arc felt.......

Paustarcus

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 27, 2018, 05:38:54 PM »
First of all, thank you all for your responses!

Judith Butler's works sounds marvellous, in theory, but useless in practice.

Well I think it can be see that way. But even if it is « just » useful in theory I think just that can be useful in our daily lives : just having in mind those ideas can help us to see things differently and maybe allow another way of living. I read a thing about marriage in her work (not Gender Trouble but I will try to find it and post it here) and even if in a way it is not really applicable in our lives, it really is interesting to see thing from another point of view.

About these men whose don't ID themselves as heterosexual, I don't know. Indeed the term queer is itself a question because today it is used by a lot of different people. And question of gender has a real tendency to overcome the binary comprehension. It may indeed help to a more tolerant society but in the same time… I agree with the ganze metsieh: men again.

I thought she had a tendency to over-complicate things and obfuscate.

Well I don't totally agree with you. I think indeed there is a complicated language and so on, but when you really go deep into it, there are, it seems to me, clear ideas and really a great position (but my point of view).

And yes, Betty Croker, about the bisexuality. Good point. :)

Its only a problem when fluidity in sexuality and gender becomes prescribed for all of us, irrespective of how fluid we actually are and acceptance of diversity goes out of the window. 

I totally agree. I see that in a way that we all would not be obliged to feel fluide, but just having in mind that this is possible. In the sense that seeing others persons that can appear to us as, I don't know, heterosexual, well this primary idea can be overcomed: just havin gin mind that we could possibly all be fluid.

BUT I think it really important that everyone could have the opportunity to present her/himself has she/he considers her/himself. For me it is different to ID myself as a lesbian, to introduce myself as so, but before I do, I think it could be great that people don't ID myself as “smthg” but consider it can be fluid. I don't know if I am making myself clear...

And also, I think what interests me is the fact that fundamentally we can nowadays hope to envisage a society where ID (or even more) can be more than binary. Primary in the way that « that's a bot thing / that's a girl thing ». It is not exactly the case but it seems to me that that is interesting.

Offline Betty Croker's frosted buns

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Re: Anyone at ease with Judith Butler?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 27, 2018, 06:19:21 PM »
And also, I think what interests me is the fact that fundamentally we can nowadays hope to envisage a society where ID (or even more) can be more than binary. Primary in the way that « that's a bot thing / that's a girl thing ». It is not exactly the case but it seems to me that that is interesting.

Well, I would say even better - what feminists from the 1960's onwards were saying much more clearly than Butler - there are no such things as boys' things or girls' things. There are just things.

Banging on about binaries isn't necessary.
« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2018, 11:00:34 PM by Betty Croker's frosted buns »
And now I know how Joan of Arc felt.......