In regard to her perfomative gender and acts constitution essay on phenomenology and the feminist theory of 188 running under the title Judith Butler argues that philosopher rarely consider acting in theatrical terms though they acknowledge an acts discourse that retain meanings that are associatively semantic to the theories of acting and performance. Other philosophers seek to give explanations on the mundane ways through which social reality is constituted in social agents (Butler pp 3).. In this regard we have Husserl, Merleau-Ponty as well as Mead, among other, all of which have previously attempted to explain the ordinary ways through which agents that are social make up social reality, via language, gesture, together with all other symbolic social signs.
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In phenomenological term Butler argues that though phenomenology seems to ignore the existence of constituting and choosing agents which come prior to a language, there also exists other doctrines of constitution which are more radical and which look not at the social agents subjects of the constitutive acts but rather as an object. Using this knowledge Butler seeks to explore the way we understand gender acts but this is not before she explores some sketches of gender acts as presented in the point of view of different scholars. She tries to describe some more neutralized and refined gender conceptions drawing from the philosophical and anthropological but mainly phenomenological discourse as opposed to theatrical model n the definition of gender identity as a perfomative accomplishment that is compelled by social taboos and sanction (Butler pp 3).
This paper also tries to create an understanding of gender acts from the perspective of gender/sex in the light of phenomenological and feminist's point of view. According to Butler the feminist theory often takes critical standings in regard to naturalistic explanations touching on sexuality and sex. The explanations make the assumption that meaning I regard to the social existence of women can be deduced from facts about their physiology. As the essay explains feminist theorists who have managed to distinguish gender from sex dispute this casual explanation that creates certain social constructs in regard to the experiences of men (Bial pp 44).
The essay also cites that Phenomenological theorists have also raised their own concerns in the distinction between a variety of biological and physiological casualties of the structural body of meanings and existence that the embodied existence constructs assumptions within the context of the experiences that are lived. The essay shifts our attention to Merleau Ponty's reflections in regard to the perception of the body and its sexual existence looking at it from a phenomenological angle in 'The Phenomenology of Perception'. Merleau looks at the body as a historical idea as opposed to a naturally existing species. According to him the bodily experience ought to be discarded simple because the body is to use his words, "a historical idea" and not "a naturally occurring species." This is precisely what Simon de Beauvoir refers to in his book "The Second Sex," when he states that woman, or any other gender for that matter, is a historical situation instead of a naturally occurring fact.
By arguing that one is not born a woman, but transformed into a woman, Simone de Beauvoir is essentially trying to appropriate and re-interpret the principle of constituting acts from what we have called a phenomenological tradition. In this regard we can say that gender is basically an identity constituted little by little in time, or to put it in a better way, an identity which is a product of a stylized repetition of acts. From that we can deduce that gender is instituted via a stylization of the body and therefore ought to be understood as a ordinary way through which bodily movements, gestures, and enactment of all sort cooperate to bring a false impression of an abiding gendered self (Bial pp 47).
What this formulation that is at the core of this argument does to the debate is to move the formation of a gender off the ground of a considerable model of identity to one that calls for a formation of a constituted social temporality. This makes a lot of sense since, if gender is instituted in the acts that are internally discontinuous, then it follows that the appearance of substance ought to be exactly that, - a constructed identity, a per formative fulfillment that the ordinary social audience, can not only believe but also act upon in the mode of belief.
Both contexts do not deny the facility and existence of the naturally occurring dimensions in reference to the body but reconceived it as a bit distinct from the process through which it comes to gain meaning culturally. Both theorist look at the body as an .active process that embodies certain historical and cultural possibilities and also as a process which is complicated in its appropriation and which any of the phenomenological theories of embodiment needs to extensively describe. The paper also draws our focus to the fact that Merleau emphasizes on the body being not only be looked at as an historical idea but also as a sub set of possibilities that are bond to be continuously realized (Butler pp 3).
This means that as times goes by the body gains meaning through historically and concrete expression s that are meditated by the world. Thorough this consideration the body as a possibility signifies that the body's appearance in the face of the world is not significantly predetermined by any interior essence and also that its expression in the concrete form in the face of the world should be realized as the rendering and adoption of existing historical possibilities . With this notion the essay points towards an agency that is meant to be understood as to constitute the process which renders such kinds of possibilities as determinate. These possibilities therefore necessarily become constrained by historical conventions that readily available.
The essay further points out that the body as a materiality that is intentionally organized has always been an embodying agent of possibilities that are both circumscribed and conditioned by conventions that are historical. To put in simpler term it is a historical situation just as earlier described de Beauvoir claims and it is also a manner of dramatizing, doing and reproducing of situations that are historical (Bial pp 56).
Taking to the claims of de Beauvoir which looks at the woman not as a naturally occurring fact but a historical conception the essay declaims his idea by citing that it underscores the important distinction that distinguishes sex as a biological facility while gender becomes a cultural interpretation of this facility. To be identified as female according to this distinction means to be a meaningless facility but to be identified as a woman means compelling the body in conformation to the historical idea in which a woman is envisioned (Bial pp 56). This can be simple put as inducing the body to a sign of cultural nature or to materialize a woman in becoming obedient to a possibility that is historically delimited which should be done in form of a repeated and sustained corporeal project.
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