"Butler’s definition of materiality may differ from those who consider the body as that which is before signification but still, there is a kind of materiality to be found in her work; that which can be best be described as materialisation. These emerging bodies, implicated as they are in discourse, are important because their very presence, which can never truly be made abject, has the power to threaten and subvert the hetero-normative matrix. However, she is also insistent on the contingent and non-foundational nature of identity referents as this is the only way to ensure that it can become ‘a discursive site whose uses are not fully constrained in advance’ (Bodies That Matter, 231).This is a hugely important statement and one which I believe must be taken seriously. We cannot presume that it is possible to discuss materiality as a pure and sanctified ontology. As we continue to navigate the complicated terrain of materiality in terms of female bodies, Butler’s work becomes more important than ever in its commitment to the opening up and democratising of the terms in which we speak of the body."
© 2011 Emma Mould