Analysis Of Judith Butler's Theory In Gender Trouble Of Gender Advertisement

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The 1965 Barbie advertisement supports Judith Butler’s theory in Gender Trouble of gender performativity. In the performativity of women, certain actions associated with femininity have been repeated to form a concrete idea of what a true woman is. Butler supports this idea with the statement that the “expectation produces the very phenomenon that it anticipates” (Butler xv), meaning that the constant pressure for women of all ages to be feminine, demure, and motherly creates the idea that there shouldn’t be deviations from these standards.
Butler defines performativity as, “Not a singular act, but a repetition and a ritual, which achieves its effects through its naturalization in the context of a body, understood, in part, as a culturally
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Butler feels that “Gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being” (Butler 45). Therefore, any action repeated enough and consistently associated with a sex could become “gender.” The cycle of “repeated acts,” i.e. wearing dresses and skirts, and doing hair and makeup, have formed a limited and inaccurate portrayal of what women are and should be. Furthermore, the advertisement secures women in their role in the private sphere as sole control over raising and caring for their children. The ad also teaches girls to feel content in service professions such as hair, makeup, and styling. It even states, “It’s rewarding for her—and you.” The core of the ad’s ingenious strategy is to send two simultaneous messages to the daughter and the mother. The doll was advertised to young girls to be a fun way to live out their feminine fantasies. For the mother, the Barbie will supplement her teachings. The ad states, “She’ll really learn from you. But Barbie will help.” The advertising works saying by implying that mothers are incapable of fully preparing their daughters for their roles as women. The advertisement heavily relies on the normative definition of women and their tendency to feel guilt. Women were supposed to buy the doll to …show more content…
The Barbie doll remains a symbol of femininity. Throughout its existence, it has represented an unattainable status of perfection for women; the ideal size, shape, and look. However, the professions of Barbie dolls were always within reach, and rarely of a high caliber. For example, flight attendant, hairdresser, or stylist dolls will always be inferior to the soldier, superhero, or ninja action figures. Even though action figures and dolls are essentially the same in composition and purpose, “doll” implies something stationary and delicate, and unintelligent, while action figures are exciting, strong, and inspirational. This mirrors the performativity of men and women. Women are expected to be passive, impeccable in appearance, maternal, and grateful for their career, while men should be confident, assertive, and ambitious. Even the sheer amount of variety for boys’ toys versus the limited, all pink selection for girls mimics the opportunities of men and

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