Compare and Contrast paper
Sexuality is a broad area of study related to an individual’s identity, sex, expression, sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the capacity to have erotic responses and experiences. Sexuality has spiritual, biological, emotional and physical aspects. The biological aspects refer to reproduction mechanism relating to hormones and the biological drive existing in all human beings. The emotional and physical aspects refer to the bond that is found between individuals which they often express inform of physical manifestation or profound feelings of love, caring and trust. The spiritual aspect refers to the 4connection with other individuals. Sexuality affects and is affected by legal, philosophical, cultural and political aspects in life. Sexuality can be used to refer to the issues pertaining ethics, morality, spirituality, theology or religion. This paper compares and contrasts Hanne Blank Straight-the surprisingly short history of heterosexuality and Judith butlers gender trouble. The paper examines how both articles have expressed the issue of sexuality and the perception of the society on the same.
Judith butler’s Gender trouble is one of the most talked about scholarly works of the past five decades. The article is celebrated for its controversy. Butler argues that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural. She argues that traditional feminism cannot be looked at as an essential notion of the female, of sex or of gender. On the other hand, Hanne blank begins by writing about the history of heterosexuality. She says that heterosexuality can be traced back to the 1860s. She argues that heterosexuality transformed the western culture. 150 years later and heterosexuality is a normal thing in the society we live in. Unlike Judith butler, Hanne Blank’s book was not controversial but friendly among its audiences.
In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler undermines the distinction given to sex as a naturally given category-that one is either born male or female and gender as an acquired social-cultural category. She goes on to argue that sex is a socially constructed category which stems out of cultural and social practices in the context of a discourse that has a history of its own. While Butler is concerned with undermining the societal sex definition, Hanne Blank is bent on exploring the history of heterosexuality. She digs deep into the past of sexual orientation. Hanne goes as deep as the mid-19th century.
Both authors are women. Both are trying to define the change in sexuality. Hanne like Butler questions if manhood makes one a man. Hanne blank’s book has a personal touch. She gives a story from her own experience and even uses her partner as an example at some point. Though blank’s book is impetus, its passion is very philosophical.
While Blunt’s argument is against those who argue that heterosexuality is all about procreation, Blank’s argument is not against them. Her argument is rather an engaging system of all thoughts that allow and encourages left and right wings to fly together. It is hard to convey Blank’s central point in the book because she has none. She is too witty to take any side of the argument. She presents both sides as if trying to meet a central point. She uses rhetoric questions but refrains from taking any side of the story. She is eminently reasonable in her arguments but is not committed to sustain linear reasoning.
Butler in gender trouble develops her well known performativity theory of gender which tries to account for the way identity is formed. She argue that gender is a product of behaviors and actions rather than manifestation of intrinsic essence. She argues that everyday actions, dress codes, behaviors, gestures, speech utterances together with certain taboos and prohibitions are the factors that work to produce what is thought out to be an essential masculine of feminine identity. She aims to deconstruct the perception of stable, integrated identity as the extension of an inner essence, the illusion of the sexual body. In Butler’s opinion, these views are both repressive and dangerous and also undermining. Unlike Blank who is vague and does not take any sides, Blunt is bent on telling her own perspective on the whole homosexuality-she speaks her mind.
Blank uses no theories in her book she is restrained to statements. She calls on questioning heterosexuals, the so called normal sexual orientation. In her introduction, Blank explains her clash with the word heterosexual. While women have XX chromosomes, men have XY chromosomes making them both male and female. Blank questions if she is gay, bisexual or something else entirely for associating with a partner who has both the male and female chromosome. She calls into question the biological aspect of sexuality. Similar to Blunt, Blank also looks into the culture that affects sexuality. Her book looks at the urbanization culture that changed the concepts of society, religion and family in the mid-19th century.
At the beginning, Blank’s book may seem dense but further reading takes the reader into the juicy stuff. Blank discusses the Disney damage caused by portraying the princes as masculine young men who come to rescue a damsel in distress. According to her, not all men are masculine and not all women are damsels in distress thus Disney sends the wrong image about gender roles to young children. These children then grow up knowing that they have predetermined sexual orientation expectations.
Blank’s goal unlike Blunt’s is not to question heterosexuality but to trace its origin and examine the effects of heterosexuality on individuals and the whole society as a whole. Blank uses common knowledge a contrast from Blank’s book which is argumentative.
Judith’s agenda in her book is to deconstruct the essential nature of gender identity. She aims at exposing the nature of gender identity as a fabrication. Just like the book’s title ‘gender trouble’, Blunt is bent on exposing the gender stereotypes that exist in our society. She talks of the sexual orientation prejudices that prevent individuals from taking to their own sexual orientation.
In conclusion, both authors are female. They have a gender similarity. However, these two authors differ in the way they present their work on homosexuality. While Blunt uses theories to expose the gender biases in our society, Blank is shyer in her judgment. She sits on the fence neither taking side. Instead she writes as if she is trying to strike a balance between both sides. Both books are passionate and an easy read. Blank succeeds in tracing the history of heterosexuality, the normal sexuality. On the other hand, Blunt talks about the present. She does not dig into history. Both authors however succeed in capturing the reader’s attention by use of examples and writing passionately.
Blank, Hanne. Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality. Beacon Press, 2012.
Butler, Judith. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Rutledge, 2011.