I found an interesting selection by Barbara Creed entitled "Lesbian Bodies: Tribades, Tomboys, and Tarts" that I thought you guys might be interested in in light of Butler's arguments. It is a little more focused, as it is about lesbianism specifically, but still recalls many of Butler's ideas, namely those about the role of gender performance and gender as an act that is continually repeated.
The selection claims three stereotypes of the lesbian body that Creed argues cannot also be applied to the non-lesbian body, thereby introducing an interesting duality into Butler's arguments about the female gender.
These stereotypes are:
- The lesbian body as active and masculinized
- The animalistic lesbian body
- The narcissistic lesbian body
The second stereotype, that of the animalistic lesbian body, connects lesbianism with bestiality, and places the lesbian as part of the natural world yet different from those who are "civilized." Therefore, this image is the most closely connected to that of the "Other."
Finally, the third stereotype of the narcissistic lesbian body plays on the natural tendency of women to copy and imitate each other when they are close to each other, creating a "forcefield" of femininity that is impenetrable by men. This idea of the "lesbian double" is threatening to men precisely because it allows no room for them.
I just thought that this selection provided an interesting corollary to Butler's selection from Gender Trouble, as well as some fodder for further thought. Lesbian stereotyping is apparent in all areas of our culture, from television and movies to music and art. I am interested in hearing some examples that you guys can think of!