Sukupuoli, valinta ja tyyli. Huomautuksia Butlerin ja Beauvoirin ongelmanasettelun yhteyksistä

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Sex, Choice and Style. Remarks on the relations between Butler's and de Beauvoir's problem setting

The article studies the relationship between Judith Butler's genealogy and Simone de Beauvoir's phenomenology. Heinämaa argues that Butler's interpretation of de Beauvoir is misleading: Le deuxième sexe is not voluntarist in the sense meant by Butler. De Beauvoir's subject is not Descartes' cogito nor Sartre's being-for-itself: it is closer to Maurice Merleau-Ponty's body- subject. In it, the "choice" of sex does not mean an act of consciousness, but the body's way of entering a situation. Butler's interpretation is guided by a set of concepts which are alien to de Beauvoir's text. She reads de Beauvoir's text through the sex/gender division and finds in it the oppositions of body and mind as well as of nature and culture. She sets the breaking down of these distinctions as the goal of her own work, but ends up reading them into de Beauvoir's text. If we approach de Beauvoir's text from Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of the body, we can see that de Beauvoir's question is not, ultimately, very far from Butler's: their aim is to study the formation of the sexes as both a mental and a corporal – but always already significant – phenomenon.