Judith Butler in Gender Trouble questions the category of woman, and claims that gender is constructed, it is ‘a free –floating artifice’ (Butler, 1990:6) and is more produced than natural. She also draws parallel between language and sexuality, how linguistic structures shape its perception and offer a platform for its reconstructed association. Many points of Butler’s emerge from Foucauldian philosophy, and while they both agree that sexuality was produced by the law and discourse, Butler also claims that the law which prohibits certain sexual preferences also invents and invites them (Butler, 1990).
According to this, culture cannot restrict forms of existence unless it creates them in order to control them and define them. A good example of this is how feminine sexuality was neglected and then developed in order to legislate it. Again, we are dealing with constructive norms of the society, which regulate us, identify us and limit our existence to an explicit dimension. Butler analyses how sexuality and gender are always constructed ‘in terms of heterosexual and phallic cultural conventions’ (Butler, 1990:41). This problem will be investigated together with the phenomenon of feminine sexuality.
Butler in Undoing Gender develops Foucault’s notion of confession and analyses how it is transformed through verbalisation. She neglects his claim that confession is a one-sided source of power, which will be illustrated through the analysis of contemporary sex shops. Another essential point of hers is how the body is ‘constituted as a social phenomenon’ (Butler, 2004:21), creating several social associations that lead to the discrimination of women and their sexuality. This can be linked to the notion of Eve and her role in the evolution of gender hierarchy.
As she claims that gender is a performance, it can be performed just within the given framework that constrains its autonomy. In other words, the generally shaped concept of woman is shaped by certain social discourses. Therefore if someone who claims her/himself a woman can only perform her/his gender within the rules of the given society. That suggests the common assumption that sex shops and the erotic businesses are just for men and the only role for a woman within the establishments is to be the object, the goods. Butler states that certain elements of Christianity are reused in a modern context, maintaining the patriarchal character of Western cultures.
TO BE CONTINUED…