Excitable Speech: Judith Butler, Mae West, and Sexual Innuendo

  title={Excitable Speech: Judith Butler, Mae West, and Sexual Innuendo},
  author={Angela Failler},
  journal={International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies},
  • Angela Failler
  • Published 1 April 2001
  • Art
  • International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies
Working with Judith Butler's Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative, this essay pursues a series of questions on the performativity of speech acts, using sexual innuendo as an example. As performed by the provocative American playwright and classic Hollywood film star, Mae West, sexual innuendo provides an instance of “excitable speech” that allows for the exploration of speech as a site of political resistance. The questions that frame this discussion are as follows: How are… 

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