What is Gender?

Brock R

The matter of sex, gender, and sexuality are all a sort of an interesting and yet sometimes convoluted topic to discuss. In Butler’s essay, she believes that “performance precedes identity” which is basically saying that the way in which you act is what determines you to be a male or female (Butler). This is contrary to what many think that your identity comes first and then you are supposed to adhere to these supposed societal rules about certain gender traits. Butler explains that society creates these sort of rules that are supposed to be lived up to, this is made very clear when she remarks at the supposed “butch and femme aspects of a lesbian relationship”. She is basically angry that there must be a label on who is the supposed ‘masculine’ sort of role and who is the ‘feminine’ rule and says that people should be their own person and not worry about the so called ‘rules’ that need to be lived up to.

As for the question on whether homosexuality originates from heterosexuality I would say that this is an accurate statement. It is the simple understanding of life as we know it, heterosexuality had to have occurred first in order for life to have grown and flourish. It is not to say that homosexuality didn’t follow shortly after when populations began to grow and people had options but I believe there had to have been that base of biological creation.

Now in Swift’s poem, the story chronicles a man who learns about all the sort of foul and grotesque sort of attributes that go into making a woman beautiful. There is even a personal favorite passage of mine in which he is taken back and says “Thus finishing his grand Survey, Disgusted Strephon stole away, Repeating in his amorous Fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!” This passage and poem I feel like really sum up nicely what Butler is trying to express. Butler is essentially saying that with the sort of disguises of societal rules we add more femininity and masculinity with how we look or what we choose. The story of Celia being covered in all these sort of amenities and features are just society’s rules that she must wear around and express if she is to be feminine otherwise, to her boyfriends dismay, she is viewed as vile. Especially about how she shits, Swift is just trying to say that underneath the glamour and presentation is just a simple and real woman, but is held down by these sort of rules and when she takes them off she is barely viewed as a woman at all. So Butler and Swift are both stating that society should not be so concerned with these materialistic attributes that go along with certain gender roles but rather people should just be accepted for the people that they are whether they are gay, straight, or bisexual.


One thought on “What is Gender?

  1. Brock,
    It was hard for me to identify where you addressed the prompt without having to read the essay two or three times. In your last paragraph I was a bit confused because you begin by talking about Swift’s poem but then you jump to Butler. Just make clear who you are talking about. After carefully looking over this I believe you addressed each part of the prompt except for if you agree or disagree with Butler explicitly. I will assume that you agree because of your second paragraph, just be sure to make everything clear and concise.

    Grade: (S)

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