DE #2 Bodies that Matter

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In this article i would like to talk about the ways in which Butler talks to materiality of the body and to the performativity of gender.
Butler proposes the idea of regulatory norms of sex and how it works as a performative fashion to constitute the materiality of bodies (2). Butler then moves her thought process into the concept of power. She suggests that the fixity of the body, its movements, and contours will be fully material, but also that materiality will be thought of as way to effect power (2).This makes me think about ways in which performativity can be thought of as a way to effect power. For one to perform their gender may very well be a way of gaining power. Regulatory norms of sex forms a performative space that promotes the ideas of materiality of bodies. Materiality of bodies adheres to the very "sex" of the person as i think Butler is suggesting. Does she mean certain people are performing their sex through their bodies?

Next, I want to move into Butler's idea of the subject through identification with the normative phantasm of sex and the idea that identification produces the concept of the abject. Butler proposes " the forming of a subject requires an identification with the normative phantasm of "sex", and this identification takes place through a repudiation which produces a domain of abjection, a repudiation without which the subject cannot emerge" (3). This sentence suggests that the forming of a subject must adhere to an identification that includes normative phantasms of sex. In other words in order to form a subject you need to make some kind of identification for the subject with the norms of sex. "This is a refusal or repudiation which creates a valence of "abjection" and its status for the subject as a threatening spectre" (3). This line represents the idea of abjection being part of a kind of refusal for the subject; to refuse the norms of sex, and this becomes a way of threatening the subject in creating something that is feared.
I like this article because of the concepts of materiality of the body, performtivity and how it links into the body, also because of the concept of a formation of a subject. The subject is linked into the formation of materiality and performativity.

1 Comment

Did you find it hard understand Butler?! I know I did!! I think the materiality of bodies does challenge power and at the same time reasserts it. If sex is performative, one still performs specific norms of sex and gender presentation, right? reducing sex and gender performance to a joke and yet retains its importance. Bodies are still with in the hetro-sexual matrix. I don't know if you where there for the play-do conversation, but nothing that is performed is something that does not exist, its just a reformation something that is.
Do you think one can fully or even partially include the abject with in subject? the formation of the subject takes place with communities, which seems to me why one must include the phantasm of sex. Even those who defy normative identities still in some ways maintain the domain of the abject. I wonder if one can be cease to be a subject. Claiming an identity always necessarily leaves something out. What do you think is feared, the subject or the abject? I'm really unsure as to how we can refuse the norms of sex, un less we stop naming? but is there power in naming? Unsure, just some thoughts ...

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