In What Ways Does the "Permittivity of Gender" Support or Subvert Hydrotherapy's? BY eely 989 Presentational Style: MEAL 7th Edition Essay Question: In what ways does the "permittivity of gender" support or subvert hydrotherapy's? Hydrotherapy's, by definition, refers to the "sex/gender systems that naturalized masculinity domination and normalize heterosexual family forms and corollary heterosexual identities and practices" (Peterson, 57).
Namely, it is "an overarching system of male dominance through the institution of compulsory heterosexuality' (Yep, 31). By reinforcing gender divisions between male and female, theatrically institutionalizes philistinism that "arrogates women's bodies and labors" (Yep, 32). However, Judith Butler, in her works, notably Gender Trouble (1990) and Bodies that Matter (1993), subverts hydrotherapy's by theorizing the notion of the "permittivity of gender".
According to her, gender is formative in the sense that there is no natural body pre-existing cultural inscription, and that body's sex as well as gender identities are "regulatory ideals" socially constructed through a "stylized repetition of acts" (Gender Trouble, 179) or "formative interpolation"(Sails,61), which is "discursively maintained for the purpose of regulation of sexuality within the binary frame of reproductive heterosexuality' (GET, 173).
Therefore, by revealing the formative and fictional nature of gender identities, Butler successfully denaturized "hegemonic" and "misogynist" culture upon which hydrotherapy's is based (GET, 176). Secondly, Butler argues that gender is an "imitation without origin" (GET, 173) and that parodied performances such as drag and cross-dressing reveal the incoherence and discontinuity of gendered experience. As a result, it opens up space for "recertification and reconciliation" of identities that challenge hydrotherapy's.
However, Butler also admits that parody by itself is not subversive, and sometimes the parodied performances of gender only serve to reinforce existing heterosexual power structures. By making use of Judith Butler's theory of gender permittivity mentioned above, the essay will analyze two literary texts, one is Jackie Say's Trumpet (1998), and the other is Ian Banks The Wasp Factory (1984) as examples to explain how the characters in both novels subvert dominant aloes of hydrotherapy's through transgender permittivity and how they still inevitably bear the cultural inscriptions of heterosexual values below the surface of subversion. . Jackie Says Trumpet There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is formatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results. (Butler, GET, 33) Consider gender, a corporeal style, which is both intentional and formative, where formative suggests a dramatic and contingent construction of meanings. GET, 177) Based on the true story of Billy Tiptop, an American Jazz insist and a white woman who has successfully lived his life as a man, Jackie Kay creates her own story of Trumpet, narrating the reactions of different people and trumpet player, Joss Moody, who turns out to be anatomically female. Josh's masculinity is formative in the sense that it is consciously constructed through what Butler describes as "the repeated stabilization of the body', "a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, off natural sort of being. (GET,43) The man had style. He ore unusual shirts that had five cufflinks, specially ordered. Beautifully stitched. He never looked like he'd Just got out of bed. His trousers always ceased. She never saw him wear anything casual. (Kay, 172) He has a slow deliberate walk, like he's practiced it. (15) He was into the shaving business. He got all elaborate about it. Love the ritual of it all. 122) In order to create a convincing and coherent gender identity, Joss pays meticulous attention to behave properly as a man and sometimes in the eyes of other people it seems even a little unnatural and exaggerated such as he five cufflinks he wear and the deliberate slow walk he adopts. Clothes as well as styles are extremely important for Joss to establish his credibility as a man. His self- invention is deliberate and unnecessarily over-performed. Not only does Joss wear stylized suits and tie, but also he wraps bandages around breasts every morning to hide them and stuffs his boxer shorts to create the appearance of a penis.
Just like Mille describes: "He was always more comfortable once he was dressed. More secure somehow. " (Kay, 238) The male routines such as shaving and cutting hair in a men's airbrushes become stylized rituals to be specifically performed and enjoyed for Joss since it is the very "expressions of gender" that constitute his masculinity and help create "an illusion of an abiding gender. "(Butler, GET, 179) Without reiteration or imitation of what a heterosexual society defines a male or a man, there will be no Joss Moody at all.
Thus, Josh's permittivity of gender is no more than what Butler argues a "reenactment" or "recipients" of a set of meanings already socially established to legitimizing the binary framework of compulsory heterosexuality. (GET, 178) In this ensue, Josh's permittivity of gender does not subvert hydrotherapy's but merely reaffirms it. Besides clothes and radicalized routines, another aspect of Josh's permittivity of gender lies in the way the music makes him feel about himself.
Whenever he plays the trumpet, Joss always feel: He loses his sex, his race, his memory. He strips himself bare, takes everything off, till he's barely human (Kay, 132) He can taste himself transforming. Running changes. The body changes shape. From girl to young woman to young man to old man to old woman. " "He is a girl. A man. Everything, nothing. (135) Jazz is a liberating force for Joss, enabling him to gets down to a place where he is set free with every possible burden of cultural inscription: race, nationality, and gender.
Body is no longer a "surface awaiting signification" (Butler, GET, 44) but a "a variable boundary' that could be nothing and everything at the same time. It is only music that can truly expresses and represents Joss. Thus, Jazz, often characteristic of improvisation, mimicry, parody, change and "being different versions of the same thing" serves an apt metaphor for Josh's repeated self-invention and his refusal to be determined. Whitehead, 1 53) Jazz is important for Joss because it is exactly his way of being and it presents the core meaning of his existence.
The permittivity of Jazz symbolizes the permittivity of gender, which is incoherent and discontinued and In Gender Trouble, Butler points out that: Inasmuch as 'identity is assured through the stabilizing concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality, the very notion of the person' is called into question by the cultural emergence of those 'incoherent' or 'discontinuous' gendered beings who appear to be persons but who fails to conform to the gendered norms of cultural intelligibility by which persons are defined. Butler, GET, 23) Thus, the very fact that Joss, despite his biological sex, passes to live as a man and continues to be accepted as a man even after his death challenges the heterosexual ideal that one's gender should follow his sex, subverting the "complex social structures that wed masculinity to maleness, to power and to domination" (Rose, 141). For his wife Mille, Joss is always her beloved husband and their relationship as a couple has always been cherished as a heterosexual one: No matter how hard I try, I can't see him as anything other than IM, my Joss, my husband.
It has always been that way since the first day he told me. (Kay, 35) Joss is consistently regarded as a man throughout his life by Millie even when she wraps bandages around his breast every morning: I did it without thinking about it... ' never touched them except when I was wrapping the bandages... Other than that, they didn't exist. Not really' (Kay, 238-240). For both Mille and Joss, "Josephine) was his third person" (Kay, 93), that is to say, the biological presence of Josh's female organs as well as the history that Joss used to live as a girl is noninsured irrelevant and can be ignored and cast aside at will.
Therefore, Josh's existence as a man blurs the binary gender division suggested by heterosexual framework. The same subversive element to hydrotherapy's is also revealed in the attitude of Josh's long-time colleague, Big Red McCall, the drummer of the Jazz band who always defends Josh's masculinity against vicious gossips: Moody had a bit of a squeaky voice. Big deal. Lots of people squeak. As for baby face, millions of Jazz men have baby faces (Kay, 147). Do you think anybody bothered? It's the bucking music that matters (148).
When asked by Sophie about his opinion on Josh's girlish features, Big Red's reply above suggests that he refuses to use what is defined by heterosexual society as a woman to narrow down Josh's value as a man. To him, music weighs much more than sex when it comes to define what makes Joss who he is. In Trumpet, the sex or biological body of Joss is no longer dependable enough to account for his identity is also due to the fact that Joss seems to be as well Justifiable as Josephine Moore the girl as Joss Moody the man.
To his mother Edith, Joss is always her daughter even he dresses in front of her in suit and tie. It is the same case with May Hart, his old school friend, to whom he is still Josephine, the "pretty girl" with "beautiful teeth" and "lovely smile" that his friend secretly adored in teenage time (Kay, 247). Even shown the picture of Josh's in male dress, May still recognizes "the girl she remembered. " For both Edith and May, Josh's permittivity of masculinity fails. To them, Joss is always a "she" no matter what he does to his body.
Joss, the same person, equally accepted as girl and as man by different people, is itself a ridicule of the dominant gender norms of compulsory heterosexuality. The most dramatic moments of Trumpet are often the times when people are unexpectedly confronted with Josh's naked body that lay bare his female organs, which is in stark contrast to the impression he manages to establish as a man. Thus, are put into serious reconsideration: We question this notion that somebody who lives their life as a man and is discovered to be female at the time of death was really a woman all along.
What's reality in this text? What is the force of that reality (Kay, 160) In Bodies That Matter, Butler points out: The regulatory norms of 'sex' work in formative fashion to constitute the triviality of bodies and, more specifically, to materialize the body's sex, to materialize sexual difference in the service of the consolidation of the heterosexual imperative. (2) When the doctor first comes to Josh's deathbed, he writes down "male" on his death certificate and when "woman's breasts" first come into sight, they are instead misunderstood as "male breasts".
The expectation of a male corpse is not shattered until Josh's whole pajama is taken off. She got her red pen out from her doctor's bag. What she thought of as her emergency red pen. She crossed 'male' out and wrote female' in her rather bad doctor's handwriting. She looked at the word female' and thought it wasn't quite clear enough. She crossed that out, touting to herself, and printed female in large childish letters. (Kay, 44) Similar scenario happens to the undertaker who desperately checks among Josh's pubic hair for the possibility that a very small penis might be hidden: The absence of penis did not strike him straight away.
Perhaps he was expecting it, he imagined it for a while. If there was anything untoward in the death certificate, he would be (Kay, 109). Duty bound to correct it with this very red pen... If he could have the satisfaction of ritually and violently obliterating male and inserting female in bold, unequivocal red. (112) Regardless of the body, both the doctor and the undertaker try to find what he is supposed to find on a "man". In other words, it is not the male sexual organs, but rather the heterosexual norms of "man" that materialize or constitute the body of Joss as well as his masculinity.
By successfully assigning himself an identity that in a strict heterosexual sense he is not qualified for, Joss undermines the very notion of hydrotherapy's which sets the meaning of gender identity at the first place, making he symbolic stamp of authority?the red pen?nothing more than childish scribbling. However, Josh's son Coleman undergoes a more complicated process of change before he re-accepts his father's identity as a man. When Coleman first sees his father's corpse naked, he feels a strong sense of sickness because he can't accept "his father in a woman's body' (Kay, 63).
Strongly influenced by heterosexual norms, Coleman believes in the binary division of gender into either man or woman. He identifies Joss as his father so he expects his body and his appearance to comply with the category. It is not his father that Coleman is angry with, but rather it is that his heterosexual ideal of discrete gender is ruthlessly mocked by the incoherence of identity his father successfully displays that profoundly unsettles him. This is clearly revealed when he describes how he loathes his father's transgression of presupposed gender roles: My father had its.
My father didn't have a dick. My father had its. My father had a puss. My father didn't have any balls. (Kay,61) It is not because I hate gays or anything like that. If my mother had been a lesbian or my father a gay man, I don't think I would have got all heat up about it. 66) The idea of my father getting periods makes me want to throw up. (67) By contrast, when Joss is dressed in male's suit in the coffin, Coleman still comfortably accepts him as a woman that I saw in the funeral parlor did seem to me to be two different people... He looked all right in that blue suit.
He looked normal again, Dead; but normal, better. (Kay, 72) To Coleman, being "normal" and being identified properly is more important than life itself. In this sense, he is the very spokes person of hydrotherapy's. More strangely, Coleman, Just like his father Joss, begins to perform a kind of hyper- assaulting to compensate for the sense of uncertainty and effeminacy brought about by his father's death: He imagines lifting Sophie Stone onto the desk... Bucks full of sleaze and cruelty. He mutters filth into her ear... His cook seems much bigger since his father died. Bigger and harder...
There's more to come since his father died... He's losing it... He doesn't do up his zip and sits watching the rest of the murder with his Jack Daniel 's in his hand. (Kay, 140) Big cook, violence, Jack Daniel and female subordination all seem to be archetypical stereotypes directly attributed o men within heterosexual patriarchy to guarantee male dominance. By involving himself in semi-imaginary sexual intercourse of heterosexual ideal, Coleman tries to ease his own identity crisis by proving to himself that he is more of a man than his father within its framework. However, this could not solve his problem.
The more he gets to know about his father's past as a descendent of a black man and as a girl called Josephine Moore, the more understanding Coleman becomes towards his father. Finally love conquers hate, and sadness overrides anger, he finally accepts his father as a whole person no longer split by gender: I am Coleman Moody, the son of Joss Moody, the famous trumpet player. He will always be daddy to me. (Kay, 259) Colleen's reconciliation with his father is fully achieved by his refusal to provide information to Sophie and his return to Tort to visit his mother: He was walking towards her.
He moved so like his father. (Kay, 278) By re-embracing Joss as he is and by fitting himself into the non-biological lineage that connects them, Coleman undermines the heterosexual norms on gender. It is also worth noting that Jackie Kay plays with the notion of truth and reality in Trumpet by building the action of the evolve on the heterosexual Journalist Sophie Stone's plan to interview everybody who knows Joss in order to write a book which will reveal the "true" story of Joss by exposing the "real" motive behind his transvestitism.
However, what she believes as the "truth" turns out to be a "distortion" (King, 104), created only to fit the presupposed plotting which caters to her own heterosexual understanding of gender as well as the readership of the sis that craves for sensational scandals: nineties love the private life. The private life that turns suddenly and horrifically public. The sly life that hides pure filth and sin. The life of respectability that shakes with hypocrisy... The dirtier, the better. The more famous, the better... And this one is the pick of the bunch. The best yet. Lesbian who adopted a son; one playing mummy, one playing daddy.
The big butch frauds. Couldn't be better. ( Kay, 169-170) Dressing up as a bloke and blowing that horn turned her on... Most of all, she liked power. She liked being a man, pure and simple. (263-264) Different from Coleman who always address Joss as a "he", Sophie insists on calling Joss "her" or "she/he" throughout her narration in the novel. The way Sophie perverts Joss as a phallus- new and power-seeking lesbian and the way she equalizes femininity with designer clothes only reflects her rather superficial understanding of gender and even of book: (Millie) I didn't feel like I was living a lie.
I felt like I was living a life. Hindsight is a lie. (Kay, 95) (Coleman) It's my morals. I can't do it. (259) Thus, it symbolizes the collapse of heterosexual ideal which she fervently advocates. 2. Lain Banks The Wasp Factory That gender reality is created through sustained social performance meaner that he very notions of an essential sex and a true or abiding masculinity or femininity are constituted as part of the strategy that conceals gender's formative possibilities for proliferating gender configurations outside the restricting frames of masculinity domination and compulsory heterosexuality. Butler, GET, 200) Unlike Say's compassionate and humanistic narration celebrating love in Trumpet, lain Banks, following the tradition of gothic novels, exposes the imitative and constructive nature of patriarchal masculinity in The Wasp Factory by an almost disturbing celebration of the violence and the grotesque.
Also different from the "multi- vocal" (Williams, 42) narrative structure of the Trumpet which gives different opinions on identity, the Factory both upholds and undermines heterosexual prejudices from the story of the only narrator Frank, a boy living in a secluded island, who is biologically female and cheated by his father into believing that his penis is maimed by family dog in a childhood accident. Traumatized by the pain of a non-existing castration, the boy laments his masculinity by savagely killing animals intruding his kingdom and three cousins whom he believes to have threatened his manliness.
In order to meet the normative stereotypes of a typical boy, Frank overindulges himself in endless cases of blood-shedding and ruthless murder. Equipped with weapons such as the catapult and the air-rifle, he goes round and round bombing animals, declaring wars, claiming territories and making sacrifice poles. To Frank, violence equals masculinity, so killing can compensate for the effeminacy that is caused by his "biological disability': That is what men are really for... Women can give birth and men can kill... We-l consider my self an honorary man- are the harder sex.
We strike UT, push through, thrust and take. The fact that it is an analogue of all this sexual terminology I am capable of does not discourage me. I can feel it in my bones, in my unsaturated genes. (Kay, 1 55) It is ironic that Frank how thinks gender is as innate as genes when he is actually performing it and his very performance is the product of a fabrication on his father's side. In addition to violence, Frank is also obsessed with daily rituals or "ablutions" of shaving that follows a "definite and predetermined I always use the latest razors... Take the same number of strokes of the tatter": same length in the same sequence each morning. I felt a rising tingle of excitement as I contemplated the meticulously shorn surfaces of my face. (Banks, 51-52) Similar to Joss in Trumpet, Franks obsessively performed rituals establishes an illusion of an abiding gender of masculinity, which as Chosen argues, is not an aberration but the result of hegemonic ideals (107). In accordance with the ideals of patriarchal masculinity, Frank frames his own version of "real" men as strong, aggressive, tough and brave?a different and superior being compared to women:
I want to be dark and menacing; the way I ought to look, the way I should look, the way I might have looked if I hadn't had my little accident. (Banks, 19) I saw myself, Frank L. Calculated, and I saw myself as I might have been: a tall slim man, strong and understanding of masculinity contains a systematic discrimination against women as the inferior and the subordinate. More ironically, Frank, ignorant of his biological sex as a girl, starts to develop male-chauvinist nausea towards women which also reinforces the heterosexual stereotypes: My greatest enemies are Women and he Sea...
Women because they are weak and stupid and live in the shadow of men and are nothing compared to them, and the Sea because it has always frustrated me, destroying what I have built, washing away what I have left, wiping clean the marks I have made. (50) Maybe the reason why Frank hates women so much is because women remind him of his own deficiency to be qualified as a man, and maybe it is just this deficiency that makes Frank notice the process of gender being constructed, just as the way he tries to leave marks by the sea which is always endangered of being wiped away.
When Frank discovers the shocking truth that his maleness is nothing but a sex experiment of his father, he begins to see through the entire social construction of hydrotherapy's that frames his masculine performance at first place: I believe that I decided if I could never become a man, I?the unmanned? would out-man those around me and so I became the killer, a small image of the ruthless soldier-hero almost all Eve ever seen or read seems to pay strict homage to. The murders were my own conception; my sex... Now it turns out have (Kay, 242) been for nothing... Only a lie, a trick... Owe I find I was a fool all along. 243) It is also by revealing at the end the unnaturalness and absurdity of his masculinity, does Frank subverts the predetermined rules that defines and endorses his identity. Besides Frank, Eric is also a figure in The Wasp Factory that both upholds and undermines hydrotherapy's. Although he used to be the perfect model for Franks imitation of masculinity, his emotional collapse after the horrible hospital incident is considered effeminate and pitiful by Frank: it was a weakness, a fundamental flaw that a real man should not have had... Suspect that Eric was the victim of a self with Just a title too much of the woman in it. That sensitivity, that desire not to hurt people, that delicate, mindful brilliance... (195) Compared with the hyper-masculine Frank, Eric seems more vulnerable, thoughtful, emotional and delicate, more of qualities of a woman. However, his sensitivity proves to be unacceptable in a heterosexual society and he is ruthlessly published by being "like a woman. " When he returns to the village, he becomes this hyper-violent monster that burns dogs and throws maggots at children.