As a gender studies major, I have read a good share of scholarly articles/excerpts in which the writer suggests that all minority groups join together for one main cause: to overthrow the dominant society and to create true equality between all people, no matter what their race, sex, sexuality, class, or any other marginalizing characteristics.  My question has always been, well if this is the answer, why is it so hard to group all these people together and also when they are grouped why can’t there be any main focus that can be agreed upon?  The answer that I am starting to come up with after the few weeks of class along with Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, is maybe instead of trying to come together as one for one main goal, we should try to recognize differences amongst ourselves, as these differences create varying life experiences.  Instead of doing this, when trying to group up a minority, say feminist groups, there is further grouping of a minority and majority within this big group of minorities.

In the example from above, there could be a separation in what should be strived for between black and white feminists, or even between lesbian and straight feminists. . I believe this is because of the way that society has been constructed to keep the minority populations exactly where they are through language, culture, and politics. This is when Butler mentions the heterosexual matrix, in which the combination of heterosexuality, whiteness, male masculinity, and wealth equals dominance and superiority. This and only this combination receives high status, and this system of human worth is created through things in history such as stereotypes, science, cultural customs of what is appropriate for what type of person, and many other things that we now have been born into and assume that is just the natural order of things.

Butler argues that since this is such an ancient form of social construction that it would be impossible to make any difference from outside of this system. For instance, the word woman has multiple meanings other than just biological reasons. Woman also denotes a certain inferiority or submissiveness because of the dichotomy of male and female and their supposed opposite traits. And because of this, there is a transcendence of this system into other parts of the human experience, such as through politics or even the workplace. For the longest time, and sometimes even in the present, because of their given inferiority women were unable to actively participate in politics or excel in the workplace. 

I honestly feel that because these systems of social control have been ingrained in the fibers of our society that it is impossible to reverse the effects that they have had. However, this does not mean change is impossible, as history has shown us. While the overthrow of the dominant population is in dire need I believe that the effects they have had on who we are as a people will only be erased with time. We have seen this with women’s suffrage, African American civil rights, and in our generation LGBTQ rights. While we slowly move away from our Catholic conservative roots, the more accepting we are of other groups of people. Once we are able to get past stigmas placed on others based on traits we cannot change, we are able to see that even with many differences we are all still relatable. Through relation to others comes empathy and through empathy comes a certain unity  between all of us who can relate to being the other.

-Jay Luther

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