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Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Judith Butler, Performativity, The Feminine Mystique

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Brendan Murphy

of 2
Day 7 of a few
Sociology Monday
- So generally sociology is all about old white dudes
- Then marginalized people try and argue against this stuff
oOnly modern people do this
- It’s fucked up
- Only having female theorists working on feminism just re-instates male-
dominance with feminism
The Bechdel Test
- Does the movie have at least two women with names in it
- Do they talk to eachother
- Do they talk to eachother about something other then men
Western Feminism
- Liberal feminism: individual initiative, rational discussion, new laws
oThe feminine mystique is the founding text
oIt enforces a lot of things
“just want a better deal”
They just want to be treated equally
Very heteronormative or something
- Radical feminism: the body
oPatriarchy exists everywhere, and everything
Exists through heterosexuality and a bunch of other things
oWomen are defined by their relations to men
oMen and women exists in separate spheres
Own moral concepts and understanding of the world
Essentialism: there is something inherent
oIn this case for men and women
This just reinforces the gender binary though
- Socialist/Marxist feminism: role of capitalism and labour
oIf we get rid of capitalism, patriarchy will fall from it
oTakes a look at women’s unpaid labour and how that enforces
Women do a bunch of housework so men can do a bunch of
other capitalist things
oThere is a split in the workload
Women do more routine things
Men do the more discretionary things
The fun stuff
Judith Butler
- Gender is performatively constituted
- One’s gender is the result of one’s actions and stylized behaviours
- Performative is not simply performance
- There is no gender we just act and our actions create gender yeah I think
oSo there is not some kernel of identity that causes gender; rather
gender is the effect of repeated stylized behaviours
oI have and act in a way that is masculine and am a man because of this
I don’t act that way because I am a man
- The category ‘woman’ is not stable, but is performatively constituted
- Many are excluded by the borders of the category; others are forced under its
Performance vs. Performativity
- Performance implies an agent, a kernel of being that does the gendered
oIe. Some sort of gender that exists beyond the action
- Performatively invokes power; regulatory practices, constraints, culture and
social meanings
- If gender is performatively and not a performance what happens to the
concept of agency
oLaw of repetition
Parody and Pastiche
- Gender is an ongoing discourse of practise that should be open to criticism
- Drag parodies gender norms, exposes the fabrication, the constructed status of
- Pastiche is the parody of the idea that is a normal
oThere never was a normal or an original