Your argument only succeeds because you adopt a very conservative and partial definition of “sex.” I recommend the work of feminist critics of science like Anne Fausto-Sterling, Lynda Birke, and Suzanne Kessler. “Sex” is not one thing, but many. It is is not fixed or static, but forever changing. And it exists in a dynamic, interactive relationship with society, culture, and environment. Yes, some aspects of the physical body remain beyond the reach of social construction, but many, many others do not. By defining “sex” simply as what’s given by “nature,” you’ve predetermined the answer to the question you pose. And that’s not exactly scholarly good form….

P. S. Gender Trouble was published almost 30 years ago. It’s hardly the “pinnacle” of gender studies. It was an important and influential thought experiment, but not without its problems — as Butler herself acknowledged and explored in several later books and articles.

Michael J. Murphy, MA, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Illinois. He is the author of many book chapters, and encyclopedia and journal articles. Most recently he edited Living Out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History, Society, and Culture (Routledge, 2019). He lives in St. Louis with his husband.

Professional homosexual. Professor. Writer. Scholar. Activist. Husband.

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