Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, published in 1999, is a key text for feminist theory, queer theory, and continental philosophy. She wrote several other books on gender and has a position as a professor at the University of California Berkeley. Her books are regarded as difficult to read due to their long, unstructured sentences and many references to other philosophers that it is assumed the reader knows. Regardless, I still think her work is valuable because of its contributions to the larger field of gender theory and how we think about gender today. I will give a summary of Gender Trouble, explaining the concepts she covers.
Freud. Even if you have never taken a Psychology class, you’ve probably heard of him. His psychoanalytic theory is one of the most pervasive psychological theories in Western culture, but there’s a catch: we don’t know if any of it is true. Freud’s concepts of the unconscious, the Oedipus Complex, libido, and sexual repression are ideas that the masses have accepted as fact even though none of it can be proven scientifically. However, Freud is still one of the most talked about psychologists, even in an educational setting. Educators will claim that they teach Freud to give a historical basis to their psychology classes, but oftentimes there is little distinction between what is fact and what is fiction. This leads to a whole new generation thinking that Freud’s concepts are legitimate, even though these ideas have been contested by scientists for almost a century.