Essay Example on Theory of Feminism

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Middlebury College
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In todays world feminism has become very common that it appears in all places. The term feminism has various meanings that people take it to mean very little. Different feminist has come out to protect the rights of women while others try to rebel. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler which was introduced in the year 1990 has shaped individual and group understanding of gender. The book was widely acclaimed due to its radical ideas pertaining gender identity and the relations between gender and sex (Butler, 1990). She also talks about the introduction of the concept of gender as performance. Judith develops her per the developmental theory of sexuality which tries to explain the way in which a subject identity is formed while establishing claims that gender identity is a product of action behaviors or performance. Butler aims at deconstructing this concept of stable identity as the extension of an inner essence which she viewed as dangerous and repressive (Butler, 1990). The book is related to whipping girl by Julia Serano, which is about a transsexual woman on sexism and the scapegoat of feminity. This book was handled masterfully on gender than any other book I have come across. The story is about Julia Serano as a transsexual woman and her diverse background as a lesbian, transgender activist. She shares her experiences and observes both the pre and post-transition to show how fear, dismissiveness, and suspicion towards femininity shape our societal attitudes towards Transwomen (Serano, 2016). Her arguments are from her ability to bridge the gap between the biological and social perspectives on gender. She exposes how the societies view women as weak and passive only to attract and please the male desires. This paper aims at explaining the feminism and transgender issues as illustrated by the two authors. The main points that a feminist want to spread throughout the world are that women are just as valuable as men are.

Julia Serano states that My gender is a work of non-fiction (Serano, 2016) and this is in contrast to the view of Judith Butler that gender is a social construct. Serano attacks this idea from three ways one is as a transsexual woman she says that being a woman is not something she pretends to be, but rather its who she is. The second way is a lesbian she states that feminine gender expression, wearing a dress or make-up or crying is natural and not artificial (Serano, 2016). The last way is as a biologist she says that gender is not performance. In her book, she talks about how long dress, crying or being a transgender woman is often seen as artificial or fake. She argues that the stigmatization occurs among some feminist who sees being feminine as shoring up the gender binary. Judith Butler is in disagreement with this because to her the effects of gender is produced through stylization of the body and hence must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and styles of various kinds of constituting the illusion of an abiding gender self (Butler, 1990). Butler criticizes that there exists an identity and a subject that requires representation in politics and language which is a major assumption of the feminist theory (Butler, 1990). He says that the titles woman and women are categories which are complicated by factors like sexuality, ethnicity, and class. She challenges the assumption about the distinction often made between sex and gender. Serano disagrees with this and urges women not to accept that Woman is a holistic concept because the concept of womanhood will remain a minor reflection of their own experiences and biased rather than something based in the genuinely diverse world that surrounds them (Butler, 1990). Radical feminists believe that for people to achieve equalities in the gender, they must forget about sexuality itself. The societies need to remember about the whole family system to create an equal and genderless society for all.

Judith Butler work arose from the criticism of heteronormative discourse in the 70s. The arguments were about inherent properties of gender that happened to accommodate social norms. The transgender people were at that time forced to observe to the ideology of a heteronormative and medical community (Butler, 1990). Trans women became the primary target, and they are highly marginalized with little opportunity to respond. Some feminist demonetized the transgender people making it hard for them to even get necessary medical care primarily in the United States of America. The demonization of the transgender people is still going on in different parts of the world. She was advocating for people to let the transgender be by stating that; As a result, gender is not to culture as sex is to nature. Gender is also the discursive or cultural means by which sexed nature or natural sex is produced and established, before culture; the politically neutral surface on which culture acts. (Butler, 1990) Julia Serano also explains about the experiences she goes through being a transgender woman. She says that is not an easy journey because the community will try hard to make one feel bad about how they are. The community is transphobic, and she supports this when she stated, When the Majority of jokes made at the expense of Trans people center on "men wearing dresses" or "men who want their penises cut off" that is not transphobia- it is trans-misogyny. When the majority of violence and sexual assaults omitted against Trans people is directed at Trans women that is not transphobia- it is trans-misogyny (Serano, 2016).

Feminist theories that mainly focus on gender inequality recognizes that womans location, and experience of social functions are not only different but also unequal to men. Feminists have argued that women have the same capacity as men, but the sexist division has historically denied women the opportunity to do so. Feminist movements have always campaigned for the protection of the girl child and women harassment in different places (Serano, 2016). The feminism theory is critical in our societies because it explains how unequal the communities have become when it comes to gender. It extends feminism into the fields of psychology and theoretical concept. In all parts of the world, women get mistreated every day. This needs to stop; we could use a lot of women in government positions and more management positions for the women in our countries (Serano, 2016). Women are hard working, and therefore people should start expecting more out of women. It is doubtful that we will ever have the completely fair world but if it could happen that would be great.



Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble (1st ed.). Feminism and the Subversion of Identity: Routledge.

Serano, J. (2016). Whipping Girl (1st ed.). A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity: Seal Press.


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