What Is Gender Performativity?

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All of us have been assigned a “sex” when we are born, and we are bound to be men or women. Many of us believe that we belong to a particular 'sex' whilst sex is natural, gender is social and culture constructed. Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women such as reproductive organs; gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.[i] To put it another way, "male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. In this contemporary society, for males, behavioral traits generally considered masculine include independent, non-emotional, aggressive, tough-skinned, competitive, strong, active, self-confident. In contrast, for females, behavioral traits generally considered feminine include dependent, emotional, passive, sensitive, weak, accepting.

Have you ever think that, why a male must act like a man, a female must act like a woman? It is all because of gender socialization. During this process, we learned how to behave in the society, to act the expected role of men or women. In other words, that is all of us are taught to perform scripts of the belonged sex. Judith Butler argues that gender is “performative” and is constructed through “repeated acts of gender practice'. In the following I will give explanation on Judith Butler’s arguments, and based on Bulter’s view, critical analyze the contemporary ideas of masculinity and femininity by discussing people’s clothing, see how are they being gendered.

In Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Judith Butler mentioned gender is an act. The action of gender requires a performance that is repeated. This repetition is at once a reenactment and reexperiencing of a set of meanings already socially established and it is the mundane and ritualized form of their legitimation. Although there are individual bodies...
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