Judith Butler Redux – the Heterosexual Matrix and the Out Lesbian Athlete: Amélie Mauresmo, Gender Performance, and Women’s Professional Tennis

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 41 (2):163-176 (2014)

Lesbian athletes, no matter their gender performances, are viewed as masculine. The on-court persona of Amélie Mauresmo illustrates this. Even though Mauresmo’s gender expression was indistinguishable from other women on the pro tennis tour, her sexuality, being an out lesbian, led the public to view her as masculine. Judith Butler’s ‘heterosexual matrix’ accounts for how we make assumptions based on what we see. Her theory explains the experiences of most people, where sex and gender are the known categories, so the viewer, then, assumes a particular sexuality. However, the concept does not work for people who are out, when the known categories are sex and sexuality. This leads the viewer to assume a particular gender and, for Mauresmo, the assumed gender was masculinity. This paper transforms Butler’s theory, extending the usefulness of her ‘heterosexual matrix’.
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DOI 10.1080/00948705.2013.785420
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Epistemology of the Closet.Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick - 1990 - University of California Press.

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