Butler’s essay derives her question and ethic from the singular intricacies of the John/Joan cases study wherein a baby born with XY chromosomes suffered an act of accidental genital mutilation such that it was professionally advised to “complete” the gender reassignment and raise the baby as a girl though, much later on, the same child desired to be re-re-assigned as a “man”. Already this case study is rich with complexity and nuance in relation to the efficacy of labels and the formation of a personal gender identi...
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...y be inclined to use. That subversion both signals to the outside hegemonic systems that she, too, can empower herself by redefining and reconfiguring these terms, and that these terms hold different meanings when paired with other identifying terms. The additional power of this model is how it maintains that discernibility for the other. Though Butler provides great insight into the many challenges of navigating the margins of normalized identities by establishing this framework of the empowering yet anonymous “I”, in my analysis, Lorde’s model seems to extend that framework to make that anonymous yet empowered “I” to inhabit a more known and recognized space through her model of compounding already known identities. Lorde furthermore posits that model as a mere bridge to the unknown possibilities afforded by the exploration and utilization of the powerful erotic.
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