“Hence, if it were not for the notion of the homosexual as copy, there would be no construct of heterosexuality as origin. Heterosexuality here presupposes homosexuality. And if the homosexual as copy precedes the heterosexual as origin, then it seems only fair to concede that the copy comes before the origin, and that homosexuality is thus the origin, and heterosexuality the copy.” (Butler)
Queer, by definition, is something that is “strange or odd”. The term queer encapsulates anything that veers away from the societal norm. I am finding it is difficult to describe queer theory, because there are so many theories that are attached to it. Queer theory is the study of issues of hetero/homo and feminine/masculine binaries. It discusses identity, sexuality, sex, and gender. Judith Butler is a queer theorist who studies LGBTQ and gender studies. In the quotation above, Butler says that if homosexuality did not exist, we would longer have a notion of what is heterosexual. This quotation is an extension of a section in which Butler discusses drag.
Drag is considered an imitation of a hetero-normative gender by using costumes to “put on” another gender. The picture above is a picture of me before a performance for the NHETG Festival for Theater in high school. The play was a short skit from Midsummer Night’s Dream called, “Bottom’s Dream”. In this I played Peter Quince, who is obviously a male character. In class we discussed the idea of a woman putting on a beard and becoming essentially more feminine through the portrayal of masculinity. I “put on” a male character and innately became more female because people recognized this gender as a performance. This is sort of a bad example for one of Butler’s theories of gender as performance, or maybe it’s good. I am actually not sure.
Questions for discussion
What would the world look like if these binaries did not exist?
Which came first, the chicken (hetero) or the egg (homo)?
Do I look good with a beard? I’m thinking about growing it out.