Reading analysis 3

Reading Analysis #3 Subjects of Sex/Gender and Desire

Butler’s article “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire” touches on feminism, the gender binary and how gendered language

In particular, Butler describes how binary language splits and distinguishes female vs male genders. The article stresses what feminists theorists also claim- gender is socially constructed.  What are problems that arise from living in a binary society? Intersex individuals are completely ignored.  Secondly, individuals who express a gender identity different from their assigned gender are subject to harassment and violence.  However, the gender binary is not only harmful to those who don’t identify with it. It restricts children from living their lives authentically and to their true and full potential.

Are there efforts being put forward to deconstruct the gender binary? In recent news, major clothing department store John Lewis decided to opt for only all –inclusive gender neutral children’s clothing. Do you think measures such as this are overshadowed by the powerful presence and influence of the media and socialization? Will we ever fully deconstruct the binary? What are the benefits to continuing on with this system? 

Gender neutral bathrooms have also been a topic of controversy over recent years.  The New Yorker (2016) highlighted some of the frequent arguments against opting for gender neutral bathrooms in public spaces. Many people claim gender inclusive bathrooms will increase cases sexual assault. Others speculate that such bathrooms will host consensual sexual encounters which children may be exposed to.  Here is a link to the article: 

Do you think that there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed? Or is the introduction of gender neutral bathrooms a step in the right direction?


Butler, J. 1990. “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire” Gender Trouble p.1-46

The New Yorker. 2016. “Who’s afraid of Gender Neutral Bathrooms?” The New Yorker

Reading Analysis #1 Body Image and the Media

Susan Bordo’s (1997) article “Never just Pictures” highlights the correlation between media and body image in women. Bordo describes how, from a shockingly young age, children learn to distinguish desirable body types from others. Fat and overweight body types are shamed and discriminated against. Bordo examines how the fashion industry has influenced society’s perceptions of beauty and the ideal woman’s body. Although this article was published in 1997, models for high-fashion runway shows still appear “waifish” and undernourished in 2017. Eating disorders can arise from a number of causes including social expectations brought upon by media depictions.

I found the mention of the “heroin chic” look to be disturbing. This look romanticizes depression and appearing “zombie-like” or on the verge of death. I’ve seen this trend appear many times in the media in recent years. In my own experience I have seen people sporting clothing that portrays depression and other mental illnesses as trendy and glamorous. Here are a few examples:


PlaidZebra (2014)

This article sparked confusion in me of why we like to romanticize unpleasant ways of being, disorders, and situations. One I often see play out in person and on social media is the stereotype of the “struggling university student”. Why do we glamorize over-exhaustion and over-exerting oneself?


Bordo, S., “Never Just Pictures,” in Twilight Zones: The Hidden Life of Cultural Images