Melancholia, ambivalent presence and the cost of gender commentary on paper by Meg Jay

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


I would like to engage three aspects of Jay's argument: first, I want to suggest that there is an important distinction to be made between melancholia and depression, and that Butler's melancholy gender depends on this distinction, which emphasizes the social and political dimensions of melancholia. Second, Jay diagnoses the theory of melancholy gender with a troubling ambivalence; I contend that this ambivalence is central to the logic of Butler's argument, and to the processes of melancholia and gendered identification, and that this ambivalence is also purposefully manifest in Freud's text. Third, Jay's piece makes a call for conceptual disarticulation in the register of foreclosure as it relates to prohibited homosexual object choice. This desire for disarticulation and anxiety about homosexual undecidability leads to the collapse of gender, sex and sexual orientation, and the result of this collapse is an ambiguous subject who emerges as reheterosexualized and normatively gendered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-164
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Gender and Sexuality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies


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