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ten years later, still state-of-art
am 11. Dezember 1999
Gender Trouble is simply the best available survey and critique of the philosophical work of the leading theorists of French intellectual feminism from Beauvoir on down to Irigaray, Wittig, and Kristeva. Her work owes a significant debt to Michel Foucault's work on discourses of power, a debt which is chiefly acknowledged in the simple fact that everyone except Foucault takes a serious bashing. Beyond the pleasures of intellectual fireworks, the book is politically important for two reasons. First, it shows where many feminist positions fall into the traps of categories which reproduce the conditions they seek to evade; second, she addresses the question of action. Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron warned twenty five years ago that real feminism needs two parts: a theory of women's oppression and a plan of action. Butler, unlike many feminist intellectuals, proposes a plan of action. The book is ideal as a cap to a course of readings in feminist theory. One final note: recent attacks on Judith for her obscure language are unfair and misguided. Would you attack cancer researchers for their obscure language? What about the engineers whose obscure calculations enable us to drive the highways or take an elevator with relative safety? Judith is a specialist who has mastered the language of her field. She is simply the best we have. The book requires patience, but the rewards of thoughtful reading and re-reading are great. Thanks, Ms B.