“… gender is… an identity tenuously constituted in time – an identity through a stylized repetition of acts” (Butler 900). This quote from Judith Butler’s paper lays the foundation for the argument. Gender is nothing more than a performative role that is reinforced by the repetitive nature of humans. It is a social construct that is piece of what and who we are in society.
Identifying this brings forth Butler’s disagreement with feminism. Feminism, at the time, took strong foot in that women’s struggles came from their biological position as women, their sex. The problem with this position is that “… the body is ‘an historical idea’ rather than ‘a natural species'” (Butler 901). In the patriarchal order, “… heterosexuality masculinity seem(s) inseperable from a ‘panic’ component, an apotropaic move or turn away from a certain homosexuality…” (Rivkin and Ryan 886). The gender construct of the heterosexual male that dominates the patriarchy is, in a sense, inversely created by the fear of belonging to the discursive formation that was created for homosexuality. Within this discourse is a ‘feminine’ behavior. Since these gender roles are constructed, one could assert that it is not only biological women who feel the wrath of the patriarchy through their being female, but that also, any individual who does not play their gender role that the patriarchy has ingrained with the biological sex, becomes a victim.
This repetitive nature of reenacting the heterosexual “normative” roles through history that have been assigned to us, further complicates the notion of gender. We imitate the social roles we see and we become a part of the ingrained system but we must come to an understanding that this concept of gender is all an act. If feminism were to continue to ignore the spectrum of gender and to identify woman as being a biological female and defining being a woman by these standards, than it will become a part of the very oppressive system that it is trying to fight. To ignore and disseminate the connections queer theory and feminism share with each other, is to carry on the role the patriarchy has imposed over all of us.