I first read this book, Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, while I was in university and it fundamentally marked my thinking.
Now, reading it twenty years later, it’s even better than I remembered.
If you’re wondering why I keep talking about how damaging it is to feminism and our culture to assume that women have some cluster of essential characteristics — like when people say ‘the feminine’ is about receptivity and surrender — this book explains why.
You know how feminism without racial analysis is just white feminism and reproduces racism? Feminism without deconstructing the gender binary is just cis-feminism and reproduces trans-phobia.
Also: I’m smart, and have a terrific vocabulary and have already read a lot of the scholars underpinning Butler’s book, and even so, this book is hard. And a classic strong-seller. People will push themselves and stretch when it’s important to them.