Lecture 11.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
University College Courses
Scott Rayter

Judith Butler - Even the signification of a lesbian identity suggests stability of that identity - What does the word “lesbian” actually signify? - The people who are actually represented by this term didn’t come up with this term but it is imposed upon them - Are we reinforcing that dominant discourse by using these terms? - Are we reinforcing the binary of heterosexual/homosexual by using these terms? - She is interested in the effects of the coming out process and the terminology – why is it that only gay people have to come out? What are the political implications of the terminology? - She thinks it’s important to come out as lesbian to counteract the invisibility of the identity - She wants to know what the term “lesbian” means and who gets to define it - Is it based on desire, acts, identification? Exclusive acts? Exclusive desires? - How are you creating the identity by performing it rather than expressing one’s inner reality? - Trying to conform to this identity actually produces this identity - Through the performance of a gender identity, you are bringing into existence that identity - What heterosexuals do is imitate the ideal heterosexual identity which doesn’t exist in reality outside of this performance - There is no such thing as the ideal male or female but one produces this idea every time one performs it - Every time I say, “I am this” or “I am that,” what happens to the I when I am not insisting on what I am? - Are you still that identity when you’re not performing it? - When you declare a lesbian identity before you’ve dated someone, is this the same lesbian identity ten years later when you are? - This identity is never the exact same thing - A lot of our reality is unconscious and may not actually conform with our “identities” - Gender appears to express a deeply felt internal thing, but it actually creates this deeply felt internal thing - Strategic essentialism – there’s an assumption that there’s a commonality in lesbian experience, but when does someone who is a lesbian become not a lesbian or
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