Judith Butler quotes

  • We lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world.
    -- Judith Butler

    #World #Return

  • Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Luxury #Bread #Possibility

  • Love is not a state, a feeling, a disposition, but an exchange, uneven, fraught with history, with ghosts, with longings that are more or less legible to those who try to see one another with their own faulty vision.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Love Is #Feelings #Vision

  • No matter what someone else has done, it still matters how we treat people. It matters to our humanity that we treat offenders according to standards that we recognize as just. Justice is not revenge - it's deciding for a solution that is oriented towards peace, peace being the harder but more human way of reacting to injury. That is the very basis of the idea of rights.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Revenge #Rights #Ideas

  • Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Grief #Missing #Desire

  • Peace is a certain resistance to the terrible satisfactions of war. It’s a commitment to living with a certain kind of vulnerability to others and susceptibility to being wounded that actually gives our individual lives meaning.
    -- Judith Butler

    #War #Commitment #Giving

  • Indeed it may be only by risking the incoherence of identity that connection is possible.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Identity #Connections #May

  • We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Men #Way #Speak

  • There is no original or primary gender a drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Kind #Imitation #Gender

  • To operate within the matrix of power is not the same as to replicate uncritically relations of domination.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Relation #Domination

  • ... that gender is a choice, or that gender is a role, or that gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning, that there is a 'one' who is prior to this gender, a one who goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Morning #Clothes #Choices

  • Sexual harassment law is very important. But I think it would be a mistake if the sexual harassment law movement is the only way in which feminism is known in the media.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Mistake #Thinking #Media

  • I think that every sexual position is fundamentally comic.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Thinking #Comic #Position

  • When some people rejoin with “All Lives Matter” they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Struggle #Names #People

  • If Lacan presumes that female homosexuality issues from a disappointed heterosexuality, as observation is said to show, could it not be equally clear to the observer that heterosexuality issues from a disappointed homosexuality?
    -- Judith Butler

    #Issues #Female #Heterosexuality

  • You only trust those who are absolutely like yourself, those who have signed a pledge of allegiance to this particular identity.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Identity #Allegiance #Particular

  • Gender is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Space #Identity #Gender

  • Bound to seek recognition of its own existence in categories, terms, and names that are not of its own making, the subject seeks the sign of its own existence outside itself, in a discourse that is at once dominant and indifferent. Social categories signify subordination and existence at once. In other words, within subjection the price of existence is subordination.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Names #Recognition #Social

  • In the first instance, performativity must be understood not as a singular or deliberate ‘act,’ but, rather, as the reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names
    -- Judith Butler

    #Practice #Names #Firsts

  • Peace is a resistance to the terrible satisfactions of war .
    -- Judith Butler

    #Peace #War #Satisfaction

  • Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act... a "doing" rather than a "being". There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results. If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Sex #Character #Expression

  • When we say gender is performed, we usually mean that weve taken on a role or were acting in some way and that our acting or our role playing is crucial to the gender that we are and the gender that we present to the world.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Taken #Mean #Acting

  • Do we need recourse to a happier state before the law in order to maintain that contemporary gender relations and the punitive production of gender identities are oppressive?
    -- Judith Butler

    #Order #Law #Identity

  • We act as if that being of a man or that being of a woman is actually an internal reality or something that is simply true about us, a fact about us, but actually its a phenomenon that is being produced all the time and reproduced all the time, so to say gender is performative is to say that nobody really is a gender from the start.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Reality #Men #Facts

  • Law itself is either suspended, or regarded as an instrument that the state may use in the service of constraining and monitoring a given population; the state is not subject to the rule of law, but law can be suspended or deployed tactically and partially to suit the requirements of a state that seeks more and more to allocate sovereign power to its executive and administrative powers. The law is suspended in the name of "sovereignty" of the nation, where "sovereignty" denotes the task of any state to preserve and protect its own territoriality.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Law #Names #May

  • To say that gender is performative is a little different because for something to be performative means that it produces a series of effects. We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Mean #Men #Different

  • Indeed, even if one believed that criticisms of Israel are by and large heard as anti-semitic (by Jews, anti-semites, or people who could be described as neither), it would become the responsibility of all of us to change the conditions of reception so that the public might begin to distinguish between criticism of Israel and a hatred of Jews.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Change #Responsibility #Israel

  • There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender... identity is performatively constituted by the very 'expressions' that are said to be its results.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Expression #Identity #Gender

  • It seems, though, that historically we have now reached a position in which Jews cannot legitimately be understood always and only as presumptive victims.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Victim #Jew #Understood

  • Race and class are rendered distinct analytically only to produce the realization that the analysis of the one cannot proceed without the other. A different dynamic it seems to me is at work in the critique of new sexuality studies.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Race #Class #Different

  • There was a brief moment after 9/11 when Colin Powell said we should not rush to satisfy the desire for revenge. It was a great moment, an extraordinary moment, because what he was actually asking people to do was to stay with a sense of grief, mournfulness, and vulnerability.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Revenge #Grief #People

  • our notions of what a human being is problematically depend on there being two coherent genders. And if someone doesn't comply with either the masculine norm or the feminine norm, their very humaness is called into question.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Two #Feminine #Gender

  • It's my view that gender is culturally formed, but it's also a domain of agency or freedom and that it is most important to resist the violence that is imposed by ideal gender norms, especially against those who are gender different, who are nonconforming in their gender presentation.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Agency #Views #Important

  • Whether or not we continue to enforce a universal conception of human rights at moments of outrage and incomprehension, precisely when we think that others have taken themselves out of the human community as we know it, is a test of our very humanity.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Taken #Thinking #Rights

  • I am much more open about categories of gender, and my feminism has been about women's safety from violence, increased literacy, decreased poverty and more equality.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Safety #Feminism #Poverty

  • I do not deny certain kinds of biological differences. But I always ask under what conditions, under what discursive and institutional conditions, do certain biological differences - and they're not necessary ones, given the anomalous state of bodies in the world - become the salient characteristics of sex.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Sex #Differences #World

  • Parody by itself is not subversive, and there must be a way to understand what makes certain kinds of parodic repetitions effectively disruptive, truly troubling, and which repetitions become domesticated and recirculated as instruments of cultural hegemony
    -- Judith Butler

    #Hegemony #Way #Kind

  • I was off to Yale to be a lesbian
    -- Judith Butler

    #Yale

  • What is most important is to cease legislating for all lives what is liveable only for some, and similarly, to refrain from proscribing for all lives what is unlivable for some.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Important #Refrain

  • Lacanian theory must be understood as a kind of “slave morality.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Morality #Kind #Slave

  • I'm no great fan of the phallus, and have made my own views known on this subject before, so I do not propose a return to a notion of the phallus as the third term in any and all relations of desire.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Views #Desire #Fans

  • The violence of language consists in its effort to capture the ineffable and, hence, to destroy it, to seize hold of that which must remain elusive for language to operate as a living thing.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Effort #Violence #Language

  • Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Roles #Feminine #Fixed

  • Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act… a doing rather than a being.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Doe #Gender

  • Perhaps the promise of phallus is always dissatisfying in some way.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Promise #Way

  • Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Missing #Faces #Undone

  • Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Facts #Kind #Imitation

  • When I was twelve, I was interviewed by a doctoral candidate in education and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said that I either wanted to be a philosopher or a clown, and I understood then, I think, that much depended on whether or not I found the world worth philosophizing about, and what the price of seriousness might be.
    -- Judith Butler

    #Thinking #World #Might