Blog Archives

Judith Butler and the Gender Politics of France

How do you upset the French? Gender theory

Recent protests in France mark the structural role of normative heterosexuality and cis-gender as tools for maintaining the socio-political status quo, and their use by conservative/reactionary voices as tools against the dual specters of  modernism and leftism. As Zaretsky writes:

In a way, gender theory for many in France is just another name for chaos. And some anxiety about chaos is, right now, understandable. With a floundering economy and faltering industrial base, rising unemployment and declining productivity, their borders besieged by globalization and their national institutions superseded by the European Union, the French have rarely been so divided over the identity of their nation and so demoralized over its prospects. (In a recent poll, scarcely 30 percent of respondents described themselves as optimistic over the nation’s future.) For Butler, France’s structural woes ratchet up the anxiety over sexuality and gender: Unable to stabilize the nation’s economy, protesters instead condense “those issues into the need to stabilize heterosexuality.”

Ecumenicals: God & Gender

Here is the most recent Ecumenicals discussion, including some exceedingly disorganized thoughts on gender by me.

Derrida on Gender & Sexuality

“The debate about homosexuality comes down to a debate about an over-organized, over-regulated, narrowly oppositional space in which there are only two hierarchically ordered places, a “binarity” of male and female, of male over female.  For Derrida, the way to break this up is to open up all the other places that this binary scheme closes off… That is why “feminism,” while constituting a strategically necessary moment of “reversal,” a salutary overturning that purges the system of its present masculinist hegemony, must give way to “displacement,” which is a more radical “gender bender” in which the whole masculine/feminine schema is skewed.”

-John D. Caputo, Deconstruction in a Nutshell