In a recent essay, Terrell Carver argued that Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959) anticipates Judith Butler's theories of gender performativity. The film, Carver claims, “virtually lectures the viewer on performativity as repetition, citation and naturalization of the self” and “even presents the physical sexed body as an object produced through gendered conceptualizations” (Carver 128). However, for Butler herself, Wilder's film cannot be considered subversive. From her point of view, it may instead serve to reinforce ideas of heteronormativity. As Butler puts it in Bodies That Matter (1993): “though these films are surely important to read as cultural texts in which homophobia and homosexual panic are negotiated, I would be reticent to call them subversive. Indeed, one might argue that such films are functional in providing a ritualistic release for a heterosexual economy that must constantly police its own boundaries against the invasion of queerness, and that this displaced production and resolution of homosexual panic actually fortifies the heterosexual regime in its self-perpetuating task” (126).

In your essay, join this debate, and discuss the extent to which Wilder’s film subverts or reinforces heteronormativity. Use Butler’s theoretical concepts and try to draw clear connections between her gender theories and the film.

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Judith Butler and Terrell Carver stand on opposing sides in relation to what gender and sex is, to some extents, both are correct. Butler, in all her works believes that gender is a human construction that emanate from sex that the society puts or instills in people. She believes that the society makes people behave the way they do in their attempts to make their gender identity. In this respect, Butler’s theoretical perspectives are valid because the society has made some social constructions that limit people from becoming what they really want to be. In reality, some people are in the wrong bodies. Sex change surgeries have increased today. It is until recently that some formal institutions like the army allowed recruits not to be discriminated due their sexual orientations. Though Carver may not agree with Butler on this, people can be forced by the society to be in attires that they do not feel comfortable in....

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