How is it that I can both "be" one, and yet endeavor to be one at the same time? When and where does my being a lesbian come into play, when and where does this playing a lesbian constitute something like what I am? To say that I "play" at being one is not to say that I am not one "really"; rather, how and where I play at being one is the way in which that "being" gets established, instituted, circulated, and confirmed. This not a performance from which I can take radical distance, for this is deep-seated play, psychically entrenched play, and this "I" does not play its lesbianism as a role. Rather, it is through the repeated play of this sexuality that the "I" is insistently reconstituted as a lesbian "I"
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How is it that I can both "be" one, and yet endeavor to be one at the same time? When and where does my being a lesbian come into play, when and where does this playing a lesbian constitute something like what I am? To say that I "play" at being one is not to say that I am not one "really"; rather, how and where I play at being one is the way in which that "being" gets established, instituted, circulated, and confirmed.
This not a performance from which I can take radical distance, for this is deep-seated play, psychically entrenched play, and this "I" does not play its lesbianism as a role. Rather, it is through the repeated play of this sexuality that the "I" is insistently reconstituted as a lesbian "I" We see her own, experiential sense of how being a lesbian is differently important according to context e. This idea that identity being is the product and not the ground of action doing finds perhaps its clearest expression in Nietzsche, who develops it in The Genealogy of Morals I.
But there is no such substratum; there is no "being" behind doing, effecting, becoming; "the doer" is merely a fiction added to the deed--the deed is everything. Kaufmann We might say in this spirit awkwardly but memorably? Yet Butler also critiques Wittig for trying to establish "lesbian" as a category transcending sex and gender: "Wittig calls for a position beyond sex that returns her theory to a problematic humanism based in a problematic metaphysics of presence" The first part of "Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions" concerns the body as culturally "inscribed" or "constructed" or "constituted.
For example: "this is the mode by which Others become shit" What does she mean by this? What sort of cultural constitution of the body enables this devaluation or "abjection" of the other, and how does Butler contest this? In the second half of the Norton selection, "From Interiority to Gender Performance," Butler begins to think through the Nietzschean idea of "doing" as producing "being" in the context of male drag performance.
Against feminists who see male drag including gay male drag as rooted in misogyny, Butler argues here for its "subversive" potential with regard to normative gender roles. What justifies her description of drag as subversive?
What reasoning underlies this claim? The two houses, House Ninja and House Xtravaganza, are divided largely along ethnic lines black and Hispanic, respectively.
Drag in particular and female identity in general play different roles for different individuals in the film: some men go in drag only for the balls, others cross-dress in their everyday lives, and some are transsexuals who have modified their bodies surgically, or wish to.
Yet "drag" also includes the performance of straight masculine identities e. The film will cut between footage of the balls and interviews with the participants, and sometimes to footage of wealthier and whiter parts of Manhattan; we should think critically about how the documentary constructs the relationship between the balls and the "outside" world. If the drag balls are in part about a longing for visibility and fame and the wealth that goes with them , does the performance or the longing end when the ball participants talk on camera to Livingston herself?
Some critics of the film thus wondered if it was in part repeating rather than critiquing the inequalities of race, class, and sexuality that have structured the lives of its subjects. For some of the ball participants, Willi Ninja in particular, ball culture really did lead to wealth and fame: Ninja was already becoming a sought-after dancer and choreographer when filming for Paris is Burning ended.
In the same year as its release , Madonna released her hit single "Vogue," which draws directly on a dance style invented at the balls--in New York, she had met members of House Xtravaganza. Many of the Hollywood icons that Madonna names in the song, and whose images David Fincher will recreate in the video, are also gay male icons: Bette Davis, Greta Garbo see the photo and quote above , and Marlene Dietrich, among others.
Women get treated bad. She writes the essay after an initial wave of responses to the film, and so is able to engage with critics of the film chiefly bell hooks as well as the film itself. Indeed, the essay seems to engage in more detail with other critics than it does with the film.
The performers remain vulnerable to a world where being "read" can cost blood and not just trophies. Octavia St. Laurent Butler had not, of course, ever claimed that drag would automatically prove subversive: "Parody by itself is not subversive, and there must be a way to understand what makes certain kinds of parodic repetitions effectively disruptive, truly troubling, and which repetitions become domesticated and recirculated as instruments of cultural hegemony" N While she leaves this as an open question in Gender Trouble, she begins to work through it more concretely in "Gender is Burning.
How does she explain subversion when she revisits her theory in this later essay? One complexity that she deals with concerns what Foucault has called "the tactical polyvalence of discourses. If one comes into discursive life through being called or hailed in injurious terms, how might one occupy the interpellation by which one is already occupied to direct the possibilities of resignification against the aims of violation? Does this change anything though, really? How do you understand what Butler means here by "occupying" an interpellation, and "direct[ing] the possibilities of resignification against the aims of violation"?
So: strike a pose
Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions (Section 4 of ‘Subversive Bodily Acts')
I mean, maybe she likes being that way. Faith tells Joyce the reason for her behavior is a result of insanity because that is how she thinks others view her. But Joyce, intuitive and intelligent mother that she is, sees deeper into Faith than she herself can. It is this same insight that allows Joyce to perceive the disjunction between the body that is Buffy and the personality which inhabits it. Once Faith is alone, she retires to the bathroom to get comfortable in her new skin. She spends some time speaking into the mirror, role-playing as Buffy.