Chengyao Yang C. Morando ENG 106 6 February 2012. In writing her essay on ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution’, Judith Butler relied heavily on Simone de Beauvoir’s claims that, “one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman” (Butler 120). It is from this trajectory of ideas that Butler postulates that, “gender is no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather…it is an identity, instituted through a stylized repetition of acts in the society we live” (Butler 120)…
The musician laments for a tyrannical futurist Ramona for whom he holds strong sexual feeling as he says, “Oh, Ramona, if there was only something between us/If there was only something between us” (Bowie 1). The repetition of phrases in the song represents a repetition of acts in the realm of life which shapes identities like gender and sexuality (Wilshire 42). There is a notable mortage of art-style mutilations and glory object d’art displayed by the song performers and their costumes. The costumes and body decorations of the performers represent gender in the wake of the new cults of tattooing, scarification and piercing among other gender identity life representations. This is evident in the song performance that is set around the idea of ritual art and most on the present options to this kind of quasi-sacrificial blood obsessed art form (Wilshire 44). The song represents gender as a volatile entity especially when it comes to love. The song implies that one cannot control his or her heart when it comes to love, for example, the speaker in this song loves Romana. There is, however, a dilemma as love is being forced to a person who has had bitter experiences with another woman and in particular his former lover Miranda. It is the speaker’s experience with Miranda which is being referred to as the heart’s filthy lesson, and which is falling upon deaf ears and this is stated by the song in no unclear terms thus, “It's the heart's filthy lesson/Heart's filthy lesson/Heart's filthy lesson/Falls upon deaf ears” (Bowie 1). This way sexuality in the song cannot be taken lightly especially when the speaker seeks advice from Paddy because he believes that this romantic affection for Romana waylays him. Paddy has been wearing Miranda’s clothes, and this makes the speaker of the song to have memories of his sexual feelings for Miranda, whose identity is closely attached to her clothes (Wilshire 44). Being a man, he thinks that a woman attracts a man in a way that can be destructive but inevitable. This is illustrated by his love for Romana which, though a “…fantastic death abyss”, is the ultimate option he should have (Bowie 1). This ultimate end emphasizes the influence of gender on the identity and, more so, the way gender is performed in real life to bring out sexuality. Moreover, the speaker had suffered a loss as a man when he lost his lover and feels that by giving in to Romana he will be doing a filthy act of cheating. For the song; Gender, sexuality and identity are tacked in the clothes Paddy wears, which are symbolic of the new generation embracing the old generation identities. In this case, paddy is a symbol of the new generation and Miranda is an illusion of the past generation. When the speaker sees Miranda’s clothes, he identifies them and has the sexual feeling he had for her aroused. However, it does not matter how far this goes, Miranda’s absence is irreversible and the speaker has to deal with the situations by accepting this fact at the end of the song as he says, “Paddy, oh, Paddy, I think I've lost my way/…I'm already in my grave/…Will you carry me?/…Oh Paddy, I think I' ...
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(David Bowie and Gender Performance Admission/Application Essay)
“David Bowie and Gender Performance Admission/Application Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/gender-sexual-studies/58417-david-bowie-and-gender-performance.
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is no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather…it is an identity, instituted through a stylized repetition of acts in the society we live” (Butler 120). Therefore, this perspective inspires this paper’s attempt to show how