Sample English Analysis on Beside Oneself Textual

Books offer people the opportunity to analyze their lives and determine the changes need to be done. Knowledge obtained from literature enables people to think about what they have learned and evaluate the impact that it has had on their lives. Judith Butler in her book, Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy immerses the readers into three specific concepts, which include humankind, gender equality, and social norms. She focuses on how to survive in a society that is full of expectations, challenges, and social norms. Butler’s thoughts about the three aspects allow readers to focus on the reality of their lives, the most important factors in living, and the need to connect with humanity without necessarily relying on other people’s perceptions or social norms.

One of the social factors that affects how I view myself and defines my behavior is the perception of gender in the society. For a long time, the society has assigned roles due to gender, and those who deviated from the gender norms were viewed as misfits. For example, females were expected to have feminine qualities, and males had to behave in a masculine way. Girls who behave like boys, and boys who display emotions are frowned upon in the society. Gender norms prevent people from achieving their goals, especially in the work industry where some jobs are allocated based on gender. While many groups and programs are fighting for gender equality in the society and have made significant progress toward eliminating gender bias, the issues that are brought about by the vice are still rampant. For instance, I have noted that some jobs that require traveling are often offered to men as opposed to women, with the assumption that the former are more likely to commit to these jobs than the latter. The author suggests that people need to accept that they cannot be who they are without conforming to societal norms (Butler 32). While I agree with her, I believe that not all social norms are appropriate, hence should not be followed. The patriarchal norms that disadvantage women, for instance, should not be propagated irrespective of their relevance to society.

According to Butler, gender equality is one way of reducing violence in the society. She states that being a part of sexual minority forces one to rely on the safeguard of various institutions that are against the aggression imposed on the minority groups (33). Sexual minorities who are part of conservative communities that do not have laws to protect them from being targeted suffer stigmatization and aggression among other challenges. Butler notes that just because some people have a different sexual orientation, it does not mean that they are less human or undeserving (33). My views of sexuality are largely based on what I have learned from my family, friends, and the community in which I grew. However, I do not ascribe to some of the gender-based opinions that the three parties do, partly because of exposure to different perspectives through the media. The disparity between what I believe and what others in my community do is a proof that opinions are changeable. I agree with Butler’s view that sexual minorities deserve to enjoy the freedoms that the majority does.

Issues of gender and sex equality and are not only controlled by the society but also by the political structures that govern the society. In recent years, I have noted changes in laws that govern gender roles and sex equality. For example, governments have enacted regulations that demand gender equality in the job sector and even public office (Butler 20). The introduction of laws that allow gay marriages in some states has also changed perceptions of the issue.

While people oppose the involvement of governments in the choices they make about their bodies and relationships, they still rely on these institutions to remove obstacles that prevent them from enjoying their freedom. Butler states that “We ask the state, for instance, keep its laws off our bodies … yet, it is through the body that gender and sexuality become exposed to others…” (20). It is through these political institutions that changes in perceptions of sexuality are instilled in cultural beliefs and society. These claims apply both to individuals dealing with the challenges of coming out as gays, lesbians, or bisexuals and those dealing with the issues of being a transgender.

Vulnerability put people at risk of being bullied or becoming a victim of other forms of violence. The different types of aggression that exist today are based on cultural beliefs and the need to protect them. These cultural beliefs also dictate who becomes a victim of violence. Racial differences create a societal view that some racial groups are superior to others, and racial superiority or inferiority affects how people from various racial groups are treated. Often, racial disparity contributes to violence and loss of lives in the society. Butler’s book highlights the reasons for race-fueled violence. While she acknowledges that people grieve because of their connection to humanity, she also notes the capacity of human beings to disregard the value of some lives. According to the author, “…certain lives are not considered lives at all, they cannot be humanized; they fit no dominant frame from the human…” (Butler 24). The woman indicated that such dehumanization paves the way for passive violence and eventually progresses to physical violence. Physical violence only delivers the message that is instilled by the society and people’s culture.

Butler’s book has enabled me to understand the relationship between the issues that some people face, and how the social norms instilled in me during my childhood affect my perception of these issues. From the book, I have realized that I have a responsibility of promoting the changing of the destructive social norms that guide society. I have also learned that just because most of these social norms have been a part of the society even before my birth, it does not mean that I have to follow each of them. Additionally, a belief should not be qualified as appropriate only by virtue of it being accepted and practiced widely. The book has made me to focus on developing positive values and beliefs of my own that govern my existence.

Indeed, different cultures have diverse views of what constitutes correct or deviant behavior and practices. While some of these beliefs promote development of the society, a lot of them are based on misconceptions.  Consequently, there is a need to move away from blindly embracing social norms and use logic to gauge right and wrong. Diversity is inevitable in the society, and instead of viewing it as an aspect that makes one community more deserving than another, it should be regarded as a source of beauty.



Work Cited

Butler, Judith. Beside Oneself: On The Limits of Sexual Autonomy. New York: Routledge, 2004.