Essay on The Queer Theory

1875 Words 8 Pages
Queer, a word first used by the Scottish in 1508 to mean strange, peculiar, or eccentric, has evolved into a critical theory signifying resistance to the traditional views on gender and sexuality since the early 1990s. An Italian author and professor, Teresa de Lauretis coined the term “Queer Theory” during a conference on conjecturing gay and lesbian sexualities held at the University of California. Heavily influenced by deconstruction, post-structuralism, and feminism, queer theory challenges the practice of assigning people to different categories based on a person’s description. Queer theory constructs itself around the concept that identities are not fixed and therefore queer theorists “object to statements that would construct …show more content…
Butler conveys that heterosexuality and homosexuality are not fixed classifications, believing that people are only in the condition of doing queerness or doing straightness. Through her theory of performativity, “which asserts that because all categories and identities only exist in the ideal, all attempts to reconcile the ideal with the real result in performance” (Kirsch 86), Butler explains how gender is “an incessant activity performed, in part, without one’s knowing and without one’s willing” (1). The act of gender, similar to a script, once rehearsed, constitutes into reality as human actions perform the “script” daily. Butler infers that sexuality, like gender, is on a continuum and therefore concludes that there is not one or the other. Skeptical of the normative perceptions on sexuality people embody and concerned with the pressures society construes on those deemed non-normative, Judith Butler expresses how:
Sometimes norms function both ways at once, and sometimes they function one way for a given group, and another way for another group. What is most important is to cease legislating for all lives what is livable only for some, and…to refrain from proscribing for all lives what is unlivable for some. (8)
Another primary scholar of queer theory, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, compels readers to be “more alert to the potential queer nuances” (Edwards 59) illustrated in
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