(Unofficial) Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire

While I found much of what Butler had to say fascinating, I was struck by the form of her essay. It seemed to me that, while much of the essay was analysis and reflection on the current state of discourse as it related to feminism, the most overtly political statement was not made at the end, after Butler had made all of her main points. She argues that “An open coalition, then, will affirm identities that are alternately instituted and relinquished according to the purposes at hand; it will be an open assemblage that permits of multiple convergences and divergences without obedience to a normative definitional closure” (16). This strong statement that looks to the future for its affirmation comes before her discussion of sex or a gender as not an act, but as an effect. I wonder how this order affects her overall statement, why the political coalition must be established even before she makes her own most original points.

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