Theory of gender performativity

In this sense, gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a subject who might be said to pre-exist the deed". The way in which girls harass other girls is through gossiping, instead of confronting the other girls directly.

This can be said for constructions of any identity in certain contexts e. Social change relies on an understanding of how inequality is rooted in gender accomplishment. It is prudent therefore to consider this process when explaining the social construction of knowledge, including knowledge concerning gender.

Political potential and limits[ edit ] Butler suggests that "[t]he critical promise of drag does not have to do with the proliferation of genders…but rather with the exposure of the failure of heterosexual regimes ever fully to legislate or contain their own ideals", although such remarks fail to indicate how the inadequacies of heterosexual regimes might be explicitly exposed.

Results showed that 6-year-old children tend to conform to choices that their peers find more popular. The performance of gender varies given the context: You may improve this articlediscuss the issue on the talk page.

Intersectionality theorizes how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and nation in variegated and situationally contingent ways".

In other words, by doing gender, we reinforce the essential categories of gender — that there are only two categories that are mutually exclusive.

Judith Butler: Performativity

While he addressed the performativity of individual subject formation, Derrida also raised such questions as whether we can mark when the event of the Russian revolution went awry, thus scaling up the field of performativity to historical dimensions.

Though sex categorization is based on biological sex, it is maintained as a category through socially constructed displays of gender for example, you could identify a transgender person as female when in fact she is assigned male at birth. This is the basis for the reasoning that people are always performing gender and that gender is always relevant in social situations.

For instance, gender is maintained before the woman enters the male-dominated group through conceptions of masculinity.

Social construction of gender

However, the disciplinary apparatus that produce discourses of subjection bring about the very conditions for subverting that same apparatus. Hermann-Wilmarth and Ryan acknowledge this rise in representation, while critiquing the way that the limited selection of books present these characters with an eye towards popularized characterizations of homosexuality.

The idea that men and women are essentially different is what makes men and women behave in ways that appear essentially different. If essential differences between the sexes are problematic, a society where gender is omnirelevant could be argued to always uphold gender inequality.

Butler sees gender not as an expression of what one is, rather as something that one does. Self-esteem has also been linked to depression in high school students. Diamond argues that gender identity is not a stable, fixed trait — rather, it is socially constructed and may vary over time for an individual.

Girls are expected to conform to stereotypical gendered appearances, as are boys. Performativity of gender is a stylized repetition of acts, an imitation or miming of the dominant conventions of gender. Butler argues that “the act that one does, the act that one performs is, in a sense, an act that’s been going on before one arrived on the scene” (Gender Trouble).

Butler’s notion of ‘performativity’ is most famously associated with her views on gender and is important for critical legal thinkers because performativity is deeply entangled with politics and legality.

Her focus on performance has been widely influential because performance and.


The theory of ‘Gender Performance’ or ‘Gender Performativity’ was first coined in Judith Butler’s book titled Gender Trouble. Butler’s theories on gender identity and gender performativity were based on the notion of destabilizing gender identities and categories.

Performativity is language which affects change in the world and functions as a form of social action. The concept has multiple applications in diverse fields, such as linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, law, gender studies, performance studies, and economics.

Performativity was first defined by philosopher of language John L. Austin as the. appearance of gender into its constitutive acts and locate and account for those acts within the compulsory frames set by the var-ious forces that police the social appearance of gender. Gender is not just a process, but it is a par-ticular type of process, “a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame”as Butler puts it.

JUDITH BUTLERis influenced by Lacanian psychoanalysis, phenomenology (Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead, etc.), structural anthropologists (Claude Levì-Strauss, Victor Turner, Clifford Geertz, etc.) and speech-act theory (particularly the work of John Searle) in her understanding of the "performativity" of our identities.

Social construction of gender Theory of gender performativity
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Judith Butler: Performativity