Link Between Gender and Culture Essay

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Gender and Culture

Gender is an important and essential construct in human beings. Throughout generations gender has remained central to the family unit. Normative conditions have always dictated perceptions and expectation with respect to the masculinity of men and femininity of women. Authors like Butler have argued that gender is not an automatic or mechanical construct and that gender authoring should be acceptable and normal. Factually speaking gender is a huge aspect of life that determines how people are recognized and accepted. In the film Zerophilia, Luke struggles with identity due to his condition that allows him to switch between genders after an orgasm. Borrowing from the Film, any unique gender construct will inevitably cause a lot of confusion and possibly affect the life of the victim negatively. This discourse analyzes the different perspectives concerning gender from Butler, Woolf and Horney. It will be deduced that gender fundamentally influences the position, desires and human perceptions towards life. Gender will be seen as a quintessential concept of life.

To what extent are human beings first and foremost defined by gender? Judith Butler (301-316) reflects on issues of sexuality and gender. She focuses on intersex, transgender, incest taboo, social violence, psychoanalysis and what social transformation does etc. Butler analyzes the social norms that dictate and those that do not dictate sexuality and gender in relation to the factors that place constraints on what is the acceptable and recognizable personhood (301-316). Butler also considers the performativity of gender with respect to gender trouble. Butler is obviously a critique of the norms that dictate and govern gender. She states that gender norms are encapsulated in human survival and persistence framework. In order for someone to do their gender in a given way they may have to undo the dominant personhood perceptions advanced by the society. Butler considers the “new gender politics” (302) that have become prevalent in recent times and the relationship it has with queer and feminist theory.

Butler considers what it means to reverse or undo the restrictive and normative gender and sex concepts. It is true that the normative conception about gender can reverse personhood and undermine the ability of people to preserve livable life. The undoing of normative restrictions can overrule previous conceptions about newer normative perceptions that make better livability a target. In other words, if gender happens to be a doing or a persistent activity executed without knowledge or will, this cannot be used as the premise on which people consider gender as mechanical or automatic.
Butler argues that gender and sexuality are, contrary to normative restrictions, improvisations within some constraint. Furthermore, a person does not do their gender in complete exclusion of others people’s genders. Gender is only done for or with others even when the other person(s) is imaginary. What is to be considered someone’s gender exists only as something a person authors or owns. The conditions that constitute the gender of a person are beyond and outside a person inside. The idea that someone can author gender in a society that is opposed to the suggestion that gender can be authored is to some incomprehensible.

Although assuming a given gender does not necessarily mean that someone’s desires will be skewed in a given way it is worth conceding that there are desires that define a given gender. Butler discusses the David Reimer’s situation where the person was reassigned their gender medically into a female following a circumcision procedure that went wrong (Butler 301-316). After the gender reassignment procedure David changed his name to Brenda although he never grew as a female. Afterwards David rediscovers his masculinity and lives life as a man. This example speaks to the performativity of gender. Although Butler argues that gender is exercised without active consciousness, the performativity of gender cannot be considered as mechanical or automatic. According to Butler human desires may not primarily originate from their personhood but from the social norms that have been accepted. Butler contextualizes the social norms by arguing that ideas that are imposed on human beings by the social culture can restrain a person from enjoying viable life due to the concern that they might not be accepted by the society if their desires are different from those that are considered normal. According to Butler (301-316) there is an urge for human beings to feel recognized in order for then to live normally. The conditions set for being recognized may cause life to become unlivable. Butler proposes that these normative conditions should be interrogated in order to afford people an opportunity to resist them and hence increase their chances of facing a more livable life.

From the arguments of Butler normative restrictions on gender can hinder the livability of life. Personhood, according to Butler, should be recognizable and acceptable. This is not to….....

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Works Cited

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Woolf, Virginia. Shakespeare's Sister. New York: Perfection Learning Corporation, 2000. Print.

Horney, Karen. The distrust between the sexes. n.d.

Curland, Martin. Zerophilia. Directed and written by Martin Curland, starring Taylor Handley, Dustin Seavey, and Alison Folland. IMDB, 2005.

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