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Gender Issues and the Term “Queer” Essay

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Updated: May 7th, 2019

The term queer was earlier on used to denote degradation. It is surprising that today the term to signify affirmation; be it present or future. The term was used to as a slur especially when referring to unacceptable sexual activity. Today it is used as a symbol of normalization.

In the case where performativity is linked to the discourses ability to produce the named then power assumes the role of discourse in the performative domain. The performativity view has implications that discourses usually have a history which precedes and conditions its current use.

Queer as a term has been used to shame the named subject. The term derives its force from an invocation that is repeated and it has been linked to accusation and insult. The term has for instance been used to refer to those who embrace habits or do actions that are considered taboo and are therefore perceived to be traversing the established norms of a particular social setting a good example being the practicing of homosexuality or lesbianism (Butler 223).

The term carries with it pain together with social injury. The deconstruction of such a term however needs not to paralyze its use but to extend the range of its usage. There is a necessity for temporary tantalization to be done by the identity categories.

The term queer is supposed to be taken as an affiliation term as much as it is not supposed to holistically describe what it purports. There has been an increase in gay and lesbian activism activities which are usually aimed at drawing the public’s attention to this group of people as they claim to have been neglected and their rights abused as well.

This has contributed to the recontextualization of the term from being a humiliating concept to something that needs to be given the necessary attention. It had initially carried with it a homophobic perception, although this perception has gradually faded due to the fact that the term has acquired a new meaning and perception.

The naming of a young male as ‘boy’ is intrinsic in the sense that it carries with it the symbolic power. It carries with it the perception of masculinity as much as it may not approximate the norm fully. Masculinity therefore a forcible norm citation and it is not a product of choice. And it carries with it some historical aspects. The gender performativity issues needs to be given thought again. Within queer politics for instance, the term queer has been given a new significance in that it is now used to refer to sexual legitimacy.

Masculinity or femininity cannot just be ascribed to the inside dispositions of someone which are psychic and ego-centered. There are cases where women adapt men’s psychic and ego-centered traits. A good example can be derived from the movie ‘The Aggressives,’ where women take up the psychic as well the ego traits of men and view the world in a masculine point of view as opposed to the feminine.

They strive to express themselves in a way that suits them. At the same time it cannot just be ascribed to the outside dispositions of appearance. This is because there are those women who would rather dress and appear like men than women as in the case of lesbians. They would rather put on the male pants and even some go to the level of even suppressing their breasts just to appear like men. This is evident in ‘The Aggressives.’

The truth about gender performance is not purely restrained to the performed part. In fact what is performed tends to conceal whatever remains opaque, that which is unconscious or even what cannot be performed. Performability cannot therefore be reduced to performance alone; instead it is supposed to consider the appearance as well as the significance. It has to be significant and legible.

The notion of someone being a gay or lesbian has been viewed in contempt and to some extend it still is. People have preoccupied themselves with how heterosexism and homophobia works and not how homosexuality works. There are several heterogeneous ways of thinking about sexuality, social dynamics, consciousness, personhood among others.

All these are in a way related to the issue of queerness and gender yet they are not just centered on sexual differences. There is an argument that human life needs to be to be based gender prejudice as most psychoanalysis and philosophies do. It has however been deduced by feminists and queers through vigilant scanning that topics and psychoanalytic areas are not immune to gender reification influence.

Efforts are being made especially by contemporary writers and even through other forms of art like movies, to loosen the traumatic link that exists between humiliation and the mistakes. This is due to the fact that when much queer energy is channeled in the wrong way, it will make mistakes to appear as though they were sexy and admirable hence giving a wrong impression to others.

There are many movies like ‘The Aggressives,’ which portrays lesbianism in a very attractive and even admirable way. Women take on the roles, appearance, and dressing styles of men. Lesbian characters have been rosily portrayed in a way that one gets attracted and admires them (Peddle 79). Such work could have been significantly criticized in the past although today it is applauded, loved and even emulated by many (Sedwick 123).

Issues of gender have undergone significant scrutiny not just in the resent years but the past. There was a time when for instance transsexuals were perceived as people whose aim was to invade and abuse the nature and power of womanhood. Transexualism was by then not accorded a disorder status.

It was seen as traversing women’s territory. The issue of gender identification as much as it may seem easy usually meets with a lot of binary opposition. Those men who have for instance been characterized with transexualism have been perceived to be destructing the issue of performative gender. They are viewed as unhappy men who seek to become unambiguous women as they seek to change their identification from men to women at times through sex change surgery or what is commonly known as gender reassignment (Stone 223).

It becomes a very complicated matter to try to assign such a person who has undergone the sex change surgery the appropriate. People are confused about whether to make reference to that person by the new gender or by the old gender by which the person has been known in the past. It may also be a very tricky task to assign gender people who are borne with the two sexes at the same time or the bisexual. The gender aspects are therefore more than the physical or the performative aspects.

Works Cited

Butler, Judith. Critically Queer. New York: Routledge, 1999. Print.

Peddle, Daniel. The aggressive. Documentary. Washington: Amazon, 2005. Print.

Sedwick, Eve. Paranoid reading and reparative reading. Touching (2003): 123-51

Stone, Sandy. The empire strikes back: a posttransexual manifesto. Transgenders Studies Reader, (1991): 221-235

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IvyPanda. "Gender Issues and the Term "Queer"." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Gender Issues and the Term "Queer"." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Gender Issues and the Term "Queer"'. 7 May.

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