Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
This is a densely written but repeatedly rewarding study of the constructions of gender and sex as they relate to women, lesbians and gay men, and, to follow the logic of Butler's argument, all of us. This work shows not only the relativity of our cultural understanding of femininity but also the limits of our scientific understanding of female-ness. For feminists,...
Published on 2 Dec 1998

versus
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Head Hurts
I read an excerpt from this and thought I'd find it useful and insightful. When it arrived I opened it up to find the text pretty impenetrable. I'll give it another go over the holidays when hopefully all will become clear...I know she writes on subjects that I really want to read about, so I'm hoping to find the way in.
Published on 12 Dec 2011 by Ms. P. Stevens-Hoare


Most Helpful First | Newest First

78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading, 2 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This is a densely written but repeatedly rewarding study of the constructions of gender and sex as they relate to women, lesbians and gay men, and, to follow the logic of Butler's argument, all of us. This work shows not only the relativity of our cultural understanding of femininity but also the limits of our scientific understanding of female-ness. For feminists, Butler's book offers a much-needed examination of what exactly the female subject is and how woman is defined in (or by) our particular culture. Butler goes far beyond Foucault in examining sexuality as socially contructed and, in the process, offers valuable insights to (and critiques of) the writing and thinking of Beauvoir, Kristeva, Lacan, and Wittig. The book's one flaw is a turgid, sometimes redundant prose (i.e. phrases like "judical law" and "'he' [sic]") all too common in technical and philosophical writing, especially, alas, of the postmodernist variety. But once the reader survives the first quarter of the book, he [sic] will find Butler's observations not only accessible but fascinating and, for whatever it's worth, socially important.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful argument, 29 Jun 2004
By 
Mr. J. N. Windsor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is a powerful argument that overthrows essentialist discourse in favour of gender as a performative entity. Whilst a seminal work, and in my opinion, a very important viewpoint capable of pushing the feminist movement on by lightyears, I feel that Butler's writing style does not suit the message she puts forward. For someone who's aim is to spread a message to the masses, she writes in an overly academic style. Although I appreciate that she may have needed to do this so that bodies under the influence of a partriachy may take her more seriously, it leaves this book only accesible to the highest academics. I am currently referencing this book in an argument put forward in my thesis for my masters degree and i am having great trouble understanding the language she uses. This is a brilliant book, but I can't help but feel that her language could be made a lot simpler.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The book to read to see how feminist theorists, thinkers and philosophers change the humanities field, 25 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Butler is readable, it is dense but worth plodding through and this book has definited the humanities and social science fields since the 1990s. there are some great clips if Butler on youtube, one in which she describes how this book came about and also reading Undoing Gender - a later book - she revises and reflects on this earlier book which is invaluable commentary and revision.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth reading., 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Amazing book. If you think you know all about gender theory, read this. The concept of performativity reflects greatly within contemporary society. This is actually my second copy of 'Gender Trouble', having misplaced my well-thumbed previous copy. I've long used Butler's theory and will continue to do so. The book is well-written, easy to follow and fully self-explanatory, without being completely riddled with pretentious academic jargon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Xmas Gift Requested, 10 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
My daughter was extremely happy with this book she asked me to purchase it for her. Again she is at university and purchase quite a few books for her to help with her studies or projects
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Head Hurts, 12 Dec 2011
By 
Ms. P. Stevens-Hoare (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
I read an excerpt from this and thought I'd find it useful and insightful. When it arrived I opened it up to find the text pretty impenetrable. I'll give it another go over the holidays when hopefully all will become clear...I know she writes on subjects that I really want to read about, so I'm hoping to find the way in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judith The Obscure, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Neutral "Phil" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
If Occam's Razor were to be applied to Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" her attempt "to facilitate a political convergence of feminism, gay and lesbian perspectives on gender and post-structuralist theory" would die the death of a thousand cuts. Butler seeks to "denaturalise and resignify bodily categories" by proposing "a set of parodic practices based in a performative theory of gender acts that disrupt the categories of the body, sex, gender and sexuality and occasion their subversive resignification and proliferation beyond the binary frame." Butler's theory is dependant on her belief that sex and gender are social constructions and her assumption that the personal is political.

Although Butler recognises it is dangerous to base the universal on the particular she underestimates the weakness of interpreting individual actions as being performative in accordance with her own self fulfilling ideas. By her own admission her theory is based on family experience including her "own tempestuous coming out at the age of 16; and a subsequent adult landscape of lost jobs, lovers and homes". Taken in conjunction with her fourteen years as part of the east coast lesbian and gay social scene, Butler devised a theory to provide backing for her aim of "pursuing pleasure and insisting on a legitimising recognition for (her) sexual life." To achieve it Butler abuses language in order to hide truth. In seeking to "denaturalise" the "ideal morphologies of sex" and "assumptions about natural or presumptive heterosexuality", Butler creates an artificial language of gender within the dying embers of feminism and the ever broadening boundaries of queer theory. It's as if Hitler's Mien Kampf was written to serve as a foundational text for democracy.

As with all theories which overlay the empirical with an ideology of false consciousness Butler's text becomes less of a parody and more of a delusion. Facts may be malleable and interpretive but they do not change by introducing new terminology. Male, female and hermaphrodite are physical facts of life. In the context of human reproduction so too is the practice of heterosexuality. Binary models of sex are standard because they facilitate the continuation of the human race. Butler denies this arguing that sex and gender are social constructions. This divergence from empiricism is self serving. It does not mean that sexual activity which is not devoted to reproduction is, per se, unnatural but it does mean that definitions of gender and sex as social constructions are themselves artificial. No one would deny Butler her wish to pursue pleasure but that's precisely what it is and no amount of obfuscation can hide that truth, no matter how hard Butler tries. Butler's argument that providing "complicated and challenging texts" is not gratuitous because it is seeking to challenge "oppressive" truths which are taken for granted, is a rationalisation of lifestyle choice flavoured by her own bitter experience. By its very nature such bitterness is essentially subjective.

Performativity is not an expression of the social construct of gender but one of dissent from the empirical. In this context Butler seems not to understand that sexual identity for the majority (not just "minorities") is a matter of purposeful choice, not the completion of a pre-determined performance. That such choices are often irrational, or influenced by social norms, is irrelevant. In seeking to make gender more transparent Butler has only succeeded in making it more obscure. Language is what we make of it, not what it makes of us. That's how populist politicians are able to manipulate their audience and it's precisely what Butler herself has done in Gender Trouble. The theoretical basis of Gender Trouble has done little to address the communication problems that lie at the heart of all social discourse. Butler believes she's presenting the personal as the political but in fact she's presenting the subjective as the objective. Butler is a Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature. Gender Trouble is written as the former at the expense of the latter. By doing so Butler reinforces her own self importance and legitimises her existence and work.

Rating this book has been very difficult not least because of the obscurity of the text, the perilous nature of the argument and the inadequately explained origins of Butler's self identification. If Butler is trying to make life at the margins liveable then it's only for those attending the same meetings, bars and protest meetings as herself. In terms of understanding the real world the fact that Gender Trouble made an impact reveals the superficiality of academia and the paucity of feminist theory. Three Stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you want a bag of facts, then you've come to the right place, 10 Jan 2009
By 
Martin Schröder (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Reading this book was like riding a train through Siberia. Now, I have never traveled transsiberian railway, but I can imagine what it looks like and I think you can just as easily imagine it yourself. Imagine that you are looking through the window and all you see is trees, trees, snow, trees, snow, trees, a little house in the middle of nowhere, trees, trees.

Then you wander how many more miles you have left to cover and when someone asks you what the trip was like after the train stops you look at the person and say: Well, I've seen trees, trees, trees..

Reading this book has been a very similar experience - it's facts, facts, a question, facts, another question, facts, a lonely thought, facts, facts.. No conclusions whatsoever. After a while you begin to wander: What is the author trying to say? What is the purpose of this book?

It is possible that I simply have not been able to grasp the implicit purpose because I have not been thoroughly studying feminism. Though I still would love to know exactly what the author herself stands for and what she wants to achieve in her area of study.

Why doesn't she express any personal opinions? Why doesn't she tie all the facts together into conclusions? Why doesn't she say: "Here is what I think" and then tell us what she stands for. I think gender and homosexuality is indeed an area of debate and if the author is so reluctant to express her own opinions it leads me to believe that she spends most of her time digging facts instead of coming up with solutions and that she is doing it without truly putting her soul into it.

Then again, that's just my opinion..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Judi, Judi, Judi!, 20 Sep 2013
This review is from: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Gnosticism is a very old idea that a spirit is trapped inside a body imposed on it by an evil spirit; it is also a Christian Heresy. This, in modern clothing is the idea behind this book, a book written in sub-Foucault language and thus very difficult to understand (unlike her later writings) and doubtless to prevent one from noticing that it is all nonsense. My first sentence above makes clear what Ms Butler has taken nearly four hundred pages to explain. She wishes that there be some difference between ones sex (of which I assert that there are only two) and ones Gender (which seems to be myriad). Gender (as Judi understands it) is as much an invention as the Trinity, and thus the distinction is non-existent. Gender relates to language; sex to body, and thus I deprecate that even as recently as last week in completing a form for my bankers it was enquired of me what which gender I was (though they only gave me a miserable two choices); they meant sex! How, however, on-line can one object; for failing to complete the question would only have had my application rejected for incompleteness? This is the nonsense that we have come to in the 21st of Christian centuries.

When the next book burning takes place and I am asked to select a few of my volumes for the conflagration, this will be one of them. What Judi clearly needs (like so many more masculine-looking women before her) is a man to make her feel like a woman, and if I had five pounds for every woman I had met who claimed that she wanted nothing to do with men only to later assume - and usually putting out a fitness-test by asserting that she is a Lesbian - the very opposite position producing a family for her now adored husband, I would now be considerably better off. Lesbianism (a narcissistic failure of sexual control) is usually a woman's answer to safe sex!

Sadly this nonsense is what passes for intellect in Academia. Please, to save us from more of this drivel will some man make a play for Judi and sort this poor woman out. You know you want to; indeed were I living in America I might make (or have made) a play myself. I always love a challenge where totty is concerned.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xac3658b8)

This product

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge Classics)
£16.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews