Judith Butler’s influential work in feminist theory is significant for its
insight that sexist discourse in popular culture affects the agency and
consciousness of individuals, but offers an inadequate account of how
such discourse might be said to touch, shape, or affect selves.
Supplementing Butler’s account of signification with a Deweyan
pragmatic account of meaning-making and selective emphasis
enables a consistent account of the relationship between discourse
and subjectivity with a robust conception of the bodily organism. An
analysis of the popular discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton in the
2008 Presidential campaign demonstrates why this hybrid
pragmatic/poststructuralist account is necessary.