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Summary

Philosopher Judith Butler's 1990 work, Gender Trouble, shook the foundations of feminist theory and changed the conversation about gender.

While many thinkers already accepted that "gender" was a category constructed by society rather than defined by one's genitalia, Butler went further and argued that gender is performative - it exists only in the acts that express it. Society determines that wearing makeup is "feminine" - but some men wear makeup. Are they "women"? Following Butler's argument, they are if they say they are. Butler frees gender from the age-old binary construct and demonstrates that it is indefinable, at least by society. Butler's approach gives each of us the power to define our gender.

A quarter century after its publication, Gender Trouble continues to be hugely influential in the field of feminism. Crucially important to the postmodern and poststructuralist strands of the field, it is also credited as being a foundational text in queer theory.

©2016 Macat Inc (P)2016 Macat Inc

What members say

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A clear explanation to an intimidating text

The narrator mixed up the abbreviation LGBT to LBGT by chapter 10 and further. Overall a valuable book that explains an intimidating body of text by Judith Butler and portrays the same ideas without adopting over complicated Austin-esque dance around the English language.

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Good intro for novices

Good intro and overview of butlers theories. Clearly expressed thankyou. I am entering the world of feminist theories so useful for me

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  • Elizabeth
  • 02-10-17

Superficial and repetitive

I chose a few Macat summaries and am disappointed. This one is repetitive and extremely superficial. I would guess that its audience is teenagers and others of about high school levels of education who want to know how many copies of a particular book have been sold rather than a more detailed exploration of the ideas within the author's work.

I'm not sure how a book like this is written. No one seems to want to claim authorship. It's written by the publisher? That should have been a red light.

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  • Vic
  • 10-07-17

Great overview

I have been slogging through Butler's work, eager to unlock its insights. This overview identifies key concepts, outlines a context and how Butler is used and critiqued.

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  • Alexánder
  • 15-06-17

VERY USEFUL

Very useful inasmuch as it also gives you sources, influences and reactions of the cognoscenti; and not only the view of the author and her book.